The downside to school zoning In SVG
EDITOR: The Ministry of Education has embarked on a policy where children are placed into primary and secondary schools due to their current address, which they called zoning. However, is this policy one that is fair and practical in our country? And the contradiction lies that while there is zoning, only the top 500 students can be placed in what is considered to be top performing schools. Why is this double standard? Is this so that these schools can still hold their heads up like peacocks to say they continue to produce the most outstanding results at the CSEC examinations? Are there not students exiting other rural schools with 10 or more subjects? Persons must investigate to find out if these achievers were not also top placed CPEA students who chose not to go to any of the traditional top performing schools. If there is zoning, why is there not zoning across the board? Why is there this clause about the top 500 being able to choose?
This new policy to me continues to be an enlist system of selection that seeks to keep persons considered of lesser social status and possessing less motivation for success, in their place. Yes, students who place in the top 500 are guaranteed a spot in the top schools; however, when you check these classrooms Mr. and Mrs. So and So have their children there also.
Zoning where students are automatically filtered from one primary school to a secondary school in a specified location with no regard to their abilities or level of performance does not do justice to our children. Moreover, it does little to create diversity in learning and other developmental experiences. The friends I have today 25 years later, I met at secondary school where they came from many communities throughout the length and breadth of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We don’t need the behavioural issues that plague a school or graduating class to filter over into a secondary system. How does that help a young person to grow, to experiment with different versions of themselves, and know who they are or even find their true talent? Unpopularity and bullying are some negative behaviours that can follow a child throughout their school career, is bullying not an issue that we see on the rise in St.Vincent?
If zoning is a policy to be pursued, much more effort should be put towards improving co-curricular activities within schools and other programs that improve not only the image of schools but the type of student that is pushed out at the end of their secondary academic career. More effort at developing a holistic student, improving behaviours and school cultures with qualified teachers who demand and equally give students respects and not try to be their best friend are some additional measures. These are some of the places where there had been a breakdown, because with the right inputs, all students can succeed. Moreover, it also requires parents and guardians to be more involved and effective in their duties as not only good disciplinarians, but to provide support and guidance to their children and their respective schools.
I will seriously suggest that the Ministry of Education take another look at this policy of what they call “feeder schools”, which to me is really a “feeder problem”, as it would simply be more of the same in a different environment unless there are corrective measures to be put in place to better enhance the learning experience and environment. Let’s look beyond prestige and see schools as an opportunity for our young people to grow and become successful as they nurture their many talents and abilities.
Concerned citizen and parent