Anthony Garcia, already identified as the most incompetent Minister of Education in Trinidad and Tobago’s modern history, is now adding another dubious title to his portfolio.
Mr. Garcia is dreadfully reckless with the truth, an unfortunate dishonour for the Government Minister who leads the country’s education ambitions.
In a futile attempt to mask his gross under-performance, Mr. Garcia has issued a public statement that blatantly misrepresents the evidence about students’ achievements in recent years.
The Minister sought to dispute the facts that indicated a decline in student successes since he assumed the Ministerial post.
Almost 2,700 students scored under 30 per cent in the recent Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination.
I had earlier carefully explained that the overall lower performance was directly attributable to Mr. Garcia’s undoing of several successful policies and measures.
The Minister was economical with the facts in his brazen attempt to save face amid his glaring failure.
He alleged that, under my stewardship as Minister of Education, an average of 2,500 students earned less than 30 per cent grade.
The raw truth, however, is that Trinidad and Tobago recorded its best academic performance in 2014, in SEA, Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).
Those results were further surpassed in 2015.
In that year, only 26 of the 18,357 students who wrote SEA were asked to repeat the examination.
Mr. Garcia can easily confirm that historic data by reviewing a Cabinet Note of August 10, 2015, which reported on the momentous academic successes.
In 2015, a total of 94.6 per cent of students who wrote CAPE examinations earned acceptable grades.
The percentage of Unit 1 entries gaining Grade 1 – 111 from 2010 to 2015 improved by 7.3 per cent.
A total of 23 of the 30 subjects in Unit 1 attained 90 per cent or over in 2015.
There were improvements in nine subjects in Unit 1.
In 2015, a total of 93.9 per cent of the written Unit 11 subjects achieved passing grades.
The percentage of Unit 11 entries gaining Grades 1 – 111 showed a 9 per cent improvement from 2010 to 2015.
In the CSEC exam, there was a 5.1 per cent improvement over the similar period.
In Mathematics, there was 16.5 per cent betterment in 2015, compared to that of 2010.
There were also continuous improved achievements in the English examination.
There has been a continuous slump in academic performance since the remarkable achievements of 2014 and 2015, the result of Mr. Garcia’s senseless rollback of essential and internationally-acknowledged measures.
The decline is the fallout of the Minister’s obvious lack of vision and leadership skills, and for this reason I have asked for his removal before he continues to hurt the education aspirations of the country’s next generation of leaders.
DR. TIM GOPEESINGH,
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR CARONI EAST
& FORMER MINISTER OF EDUCATION