‘Study hard and you will achieve greatness’ – NGSA 2021 top performers

Top performers of this year’s National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) have expressed gratitude and contentment for making their mark in the educational hall of fame.

Moments after the announcement of the results on Friday, DPI spoke to a few of the highflyers to understand their state of mind, as well as the challenges their education faced in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister of Education Hon. Priya Manickchand; Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) Director of Operations Dr. Nicole Manning; and CXC CEO and Registrar Dr. Wayne Wesley pose with these year’s top ten National Grade Six Assessment performers

Nirvana Wimal, Guyana’s top performer for the NGSA related that her noteworthy achievement was no easy feat. In fact, she detailed her long nights, extensive afterschool lessons, aggressive studying, patience and determination in order secure the position as Guyana’s number one.  

The Success Elementary pupil, who attained 524 marks at her exams and a spot at Queen’s College, expressed that the pandemic imposed harsh effects on her life, particularly to her education.

Minister of Education Hon. Priya Manickchand poses with Nirvana Wimal, Guyana’s top performer for NGSA and her parents

“It was very hard for me because we could not get to go out a lot. Normally we would go on trips to monuments and stuff and we didn’t get to do that. Also, it was very hard because you didn’t get to go to an actual school and you got distracted.”

Notwithstanding these challenges, the top performer underscored how she was able to find strength to prevail.

“I feel very happy and glad that my hard work paid off,” she related.

Deja Datt, second place performer for National Grade Six Assessment

Deja Datt, a New Guyana School student who secured second place in Guyana, shared that she had begun preparing for her examinations over a year ago. She related that she received support from her teachers and parents, as well as online learning programmes provided by the education ministry.

“It has always been my dream to just be in the top 10, whether it be for the region or the entire nation. Just to realise this and how far I’ve come, it has really been a stepping stone in my life and I could not be any happier.”

With 532 marks, Datt was able to secure a position at the Queen’s College.

Shabaka Yisrael, National Grade Six Assessment top performer

Shabaka Yisrael, another Success Elementary student and one of the five pupils who secured fifth place nationwide, spoke of how he prepared for the NGSA examinations.

“What we would usually do, our classroom teachers would give us exercises. Most of all, if not all of us were told to redo those exercises and we would, especially the past papers.”

Asked what advice they would give to pupils preparing for next year’s examination, the responses were very similar – hard work, determination and commitment.

“I would tell them to work very hard at studying and so. Put down the phones for now. You have one opportunity to do this. Put your best foot forward and have no regrets,” said Paris Timmerman, who tied for second place.

“Just study hard, be focused. There are so many distractions but you can’t let that stop you from achieving whatever you want. Just aim for the stars, don’t go lower,” related Chelsea Persaud, a Dharmic Rama Krishna pupil who tied for fifth place.

Aditi Joshi National Grade Six Assessment top performer

“The message that I have for them is to study hard, pay attention in class, take down notes, write down important things and also try to read further,” Aditi Joshi, a Mae’s Under 12 pupil. She secured a spot at Queen’s College.

“My advice for the next set of children that will be writing is to take your work seriously. “Success does not come over night, it takes a lot of hard  work and bravery,” Success Elementary pupil J’kell Whyte said. Like the others, he is also now a Queen’s College student.  

Minister of Education Hon. Priya Manickchand and education officials pose with top hinterland performers

Meanwhile, Minister of Education Hon. Priya Manickchand pointed out that despite the severe effects of the pandemic on the education sector, children still performed impressively.

“I was very nervous about it. We tried to make these children equal as if they were in school and that’s why you don’t see poor, poor results here. In fact, in our worst year, a covid year, we did our best in English and Social Studies,” the Minister said.

Some 13,822 pupils wrote the NGSA exams this year. Minister Manickchand assured that her ministry will contact those absentees so that they may have a chance to write their exams.