By Sonia Boddie, Caricom Youth Ambassador, St.Kitts and Nevis
It is that time of the year again, when our students are being tested to determine, what they have learnt throughout the school year. For those in their final year of high school, it is a test to determine how much they have learnt over several years.
For some, this may be a very joyous occasion, as soon after these exams are finished, they would be advancing to a new grade, form, school or college, or transitioning into the grown-up world of work. For others, this period may possibly be deemed the most dreaded time of their lives, and the most stressful time of their teenage years, as the results of these exams can play a huge role in what they become in life. These results may factor greatly in the employment opportunities they are afforded and whether they would be able to easily access tertiary education.
Notwithstanding how this time of the year is viewed by students, the fact of the matter is, it is crunch time! It is time for our students to seriously buckle down, and it is the time for parents and guardians to jump onboard, if they are not already on, to ensure that our students are “burning the midnight oil.” This is the time for ensuring students are utilizing their time wisely to adequately prepare for exams, that they have the material tools necessary to sit exams, and that they most importantly, show up for exams.
In a recent Facebook post, a teacher in another Caribbean Island lamented the failure of a student to show up for an overseas exam, despite the efforts made to ensure her registration for said exams. Her excuse was that she didn’t have money to pay the bus .Whether or not the excuse provided by this child is accurate, this situation is very concerning, and this is a situation that I personally do not want to see happening here in our Federation. It is no secret that in the past, there have been cases at both the CXC and CAPE level, where government had paid for exams and students did not show up to write them. However, in 2015 parents, this is a situation you must work together with the education officials to improve.
It is important that you constantly remind your child of the importance of education, that education is indeed expensive, and even though their parents may not have paid for the exams, it comes at a cost to somebody. One may argue that if students haven’t already begun preparing for these exams, they may as well not show up for them. However, having sat through many exams locally, regionally and internationally, I am of the school of thought that believes, if you show up, your chances of receiving a passing grade, are greater than if you are a complete no show. I say this because, one never truly knows for a fact, what will exactly come on an exam, the level of difficulty of the actual exam and what could be the outcome, if they just sit down and make an attempt.
Therefore, parents I wish to share a few tips with you, as we all work together, to safeguard the interest of our nation’s children. Get a copy of your child’s exam timetable and study time table. Ensure you are following up with them daily to see if they are studying or wasting time. Offer to help your child study, by doing something as simple as asking them possible test questions, be it spelling words for those in primary school or more complicated questions, for those in high school or college. We live in world of mobile phones, so be sure to call your children to check that they are getting ready to go sit their exams and haven’t overslept. Ensure you provide whatever resources are necessary, be it financial or otherwise, and tell someone if you are unable to provide, so they can assist. Also, ask your children at the end of each exam day “How was your exam son or daughter?” And especially for those writing CXC and CAPE, parents I strongly suggest you request your child/ward’s exam receipt, which is proof that they actually sat the exam. Once your child sees that you are genuinely interested in what they are doing, or required to do, the chances of them doing what is right and applying themselves, will more than likely increase.
It may sound cliché saying “Education is the key to success”, but parents I am testimony that education can certainly broaden one’s horizons and open the door to a literal world of magnificent opportunities.
So students the ball is in your court at this time, and parents it’s your job to help them shoot that hoop to educational advancement. It is a team effort everyone!
All the best in your exams, my nation’s children, make us all proud!