Christianburg Secondary attains Sixth Form status

─ after decades of struggle of Principal Thomas

─ CWSS will now be able to accommodate many Linden students who wish to pursue Caribbean Advancement Proficiency Level

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, July 31, 2018

After decades, the Christianburg Wismar Secondary School (CWSS) in Linden has now achieved sixth form status and recognition has been given to the efforts of its Principal Cleveland Thomas.

The school, built under former President Linden Forbes Burnham, was once known as the lowest rated schools in Linden with its academic performance plummeting during the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Coming to its saving grace, however, in 2004, was the renowned educator in Linden, Principal Cleveland Thomas who put all his energies into its massive transformation. Today, it is competing against Linden’s premier school Mackenzie High, for the region’s top-ranking secondary school title.

CWSS Principal, Cleveland Thomas

In 2015, for the first time, after decades, CWSS won seven of the top 10 places in Region 10 for Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and this performance was repeated in 2017. It has also attained Sixth Form status, according to a release from the Ministry of Education (MoE). Only Mackenzie High School (MHS) held that position in Linden. The release stated that the move was another step towards closing the gap in education delivery across Guyana. CWSS will now be able to accommodate the many Linden students who wish to pursue the Caribbean Advancement Proficiency Level.

The subjects that will be taught for the September 2018 CAPE programme at CWSS, are Geometrical & Mechanical Engineering Drawing, Electrical & Electronic Technology, Computer Science and Pure Mathematics. This ultimately would lead to an Associate Degree in Technical Studies from the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC). Additionally, such pursuits will allow for the exemption from courses at the University of Guyana (UG) should the students go on to that tertiary institution.

According to the ministry, the CWSS has one of the strongest technical vocational education programmes in Region 10. This is evident in the CSEC results. The school is equipped with four large workshops and two Information Technology (IT) laboratories to offer a multilateral programme.

The school is a grade [B] institution, with a matriculation rate that ranks high among the other listed [A] Grade schools in Guyana. Matriculation is defined by CXC as a pass of at least five CSEC subjects, at one sitting, at Grades I to III, including English A and Mathematics.

Over the past five years, the school recorded a consistent improvement in student matriculation. In 2013, only 29 percent of the CSEC candidates matriculated while in 2017, 48 percent matriculated. Thirty-one percent (or seventy-two) of the students, who matriculated from the CWSS over the past three years, were from the Industrial Technology Department (ITD). In 2015 and 2016, 83% of the candidates passed and in 2017, all the candidates (100%) passed.

Thomas noted that the fight for the transformation of the school, though not at an end, has gone a far way. He called it a satisfying and rewarding feeling. “I am happy to know what the teachers would have been fighting for since 2005 has finally come to pass, and in September 2018 we will be getting a Sixth Form, it is a satisfying feeling.”

Now that the school is finally a sixth form school, Thomas said that the hard work of the teachers and students has begun to ensure that it lives up to the standard since there is a lot of responsibility that comes along with the status. He is confident, however, that he will get the support as always but will be the one leading the way, since he is the only one at the school that has the experience of teaching at sixth form schools – Mackenzie High and Bishops High School.

The teachers, however, have been preparing for this news through strategic planning since five of them would have successfully read for their degrees in the Industrial Technology (IT) field and the others are trained teachers who also acquired certificates at the Government Technical Institute (GTI). Teachers are also trained in the fields of Communication Studies and Caribbean Studies. “We have been strengthening the base,” Thomas related.

Thomas is also happy that CWSS is seeing extensive rehabilitation at the cost of $229Million. Departments that are benefiting from this project are the Home Economics, Science, Industrial, Visual Arts and Technical Departments. Monies have also been allocated for the purchasing of equipment for these departments including the Woods Department. The rehabilitation is expected to be completed for school’s reopening in September.

Story and Image: Vanessa Braithwaite    


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