Joy, protest greet GSAT results

THE release of the results of the 2013 Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) was yesterday greeted with tears of joy and instances of protests.

The release of the results ended nearly three months of anxious wait for the more than 40,000 students and their equally nervous parents and teachers, with some parents turning up at schools from as early as 7:00 am for results that did not arrive until about midday.

But while many parents wore smiles after their children were awarded places at their preferred schools, others frowned at the schools to which their children were placed. They protested that the schools were not among those indicated on the registration form, which is required for the sitting of the March exams that are used to place students in secondary schools.

“I am so elated, words cannot explain how I feel at this time after I found out my daughter [will be attending] Immaculate [Conception] High School, the school of her choice,” a proud Winston Stephens told the Jamaica Observer after he turned up to pick up his daughter at Jessie Ripoll Primary.

Another parent, Verona Antoine-Smith, had a similar feeling. Her daughter was also placed at Immaculate.

“I am so proud of her right now, she worked really hard and it’s good to know she was selected for the school of her choice,” Antoine-Smith told the Jamaica Observer.

But their sentiments were in contrast to that expressed by others like Tamara Francis, who could not hide her disappointment after her child — a student at Greenwich All-Age — was awarded a place at Calabar Primary and Junior High.

“I am really not pleased with where my child was placed as it will be very difficult in terms of the transportation to reach to and from school,” she protested.

Another parent Sophia Dennis — apparently taking advice of the authorities — said she was prepared to work with her child even if he was not placed at the institution of his choice.

Yesterday, Owen Henry, vice-principal of Jessie Ripoll, said most parents were happy with the GSAT results.

“From what we are seeing, most parents are happy with the passes [but] one area of concern was a slight fall in the [scores] in communication task,” said Henry.

Bryan Guscott, principal of Greenwich All-Age School, said he was also encouraged by what he saw.

“The students made us proud and we will continue to encourage them in whatever way we can,” said Guscott.

At Clan Clarthy Primary School, Principal Sheldon Richards was also happy. He said based on an early assessment of the results, passes at the school were better than last year.

“We are happy about some of the results we have seen so far [but] there were some parents who were disappointed,” said Richards as he encouraged parents to accept that students can succeed wherever they are placed.

Among those who were elated was Sophia Burgher whose daughter Shamare Burgher — the head girl at the school — won a place at Holy Childhood High.

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