KAIETEUR NEWS, AUG 31
By: Feona Morrison
Three women, all over 30, are the perfect example that it’s never too late to pursue your academic dreams.
Nicola Clement, 42, a mother of four and grandmother, Chandrawattie Ally, 32, a mother of six and entrepreneur and Alyce Cameron, 30, a graduate of the Burrowes School of Arts, each wrote two subjects at the recently concluded Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate and secured passes.
They are students of the Sophia Night School which is operated by the Sophia Community Development Association (SOCDA) which has been in existence for more than a decade.
It was initially intended to serve as a forum where individuals, organizations and other stakeholders from the community meet to exchange views on community development. The Non-Government Organization (NGO) was legally registered this year and currently is run by a board of trustees.
During an orientation held for new students on Saturday, the women related challenges they conquered while pursuing studies. Clement, a librarian, noted that pursuing studies has nothing to do with age. She added that people just need the motivation and urge of wanting to achieve something positive.
The mother achieved a Grade One pass in English A and Grade Three pass in Office Administration (OA). “This is a big achievement for me. It is never too late,” Clement added.
Cameron secured similar passes in the same subject areas as Clement.
The Burrowes School of Arts graduate explained that attending classes was “good” even though she faced some personal challenges. She said that the lecturers and other students were very supportive.
“We worked together as a family. People always looked out for you and would call you when they are not seeing you. As an artist, I want to develop myself more and further my education. I want to excel into something as a career.”
She plans on writing other CSEC subjects including Mathematics and Accounts before moving on to the University of Guyana to pursue a degree. Cameron wants to become a businesswoman and is urging other persons that it is never too late to try again.
Meanwhile, Ally recalled that it was not an easy task studying and having to manage her family and business. Ally secured a Grade Three pass in English A. She did not gain a passable grade in Accounts but said she will re-sit the subject along with others since she, too, also wants a better job.
According to Ally, “I wrote CXC in 2002 and didn’t come out with much grades. So many times I wanted to do back subjects but due to finance I didn’t get to do it. The first time I wrote English was in High School and I got a grade five.” She added that she did not secure a pass grade at Accounts due to difficulties she encountered attending classes.
“Sometimes when I come off from work I used to be drained. I didn’t able come to classes. My husband is in the army and he doesn’t be at home all the time. At the exam time I didn’t had confidence. I gave up.
I called sir and told him that I cannot make this. I had already paid to write the exams. But sir encouraged me and I went ahead and gave it my best.”
Programme Assistant for SOCDA, Orin Nelson told Kaieteur News that the classes are being funded by the Ministry of the Presidency, Office of the Presidential Adviser on Youth Empowerment and the Ministry of Education. He disclosed that classes are offered in 10 subjects namely: English A, Mathematics, Social Studies, Integrated Science, Agricultural Science, Human and Social Biology, Principle of Accounts, Principle of Business, Office Administration and Electronic Document Preparation Management (EDPM).
According to Nelson, the CSEC Night Classes aims to give persons who never wrote the exams a chance to do so.
He added that it also enables persons who might not have secured good grades, another chance to accomplish this goal.
“There is no age limit. The only thing we require from the students is their attendance. You need about a 90% attendance so that you can sit the exams.”
Classes are kept 17:30hrs to 21:30 Mondays through Friday at the Sophia Training Centre.
However, Nelson said that classes are sometimes kept on Saturdays to facilitate practicals for subjects like Integrated Science and Agricultural Science.
SOCDA’s goals are to: Foster a sense of community identity by providing resources and opportunity to promote self determination; to create an equitable supportive environment to promote social and restoration justice among delinquent juveniles; and to promote numeracy and literacy among youths and adults. Apart from the CSEC Night Class, SOCDA also has a Numeracy and Literacy Programme and a Work Employment Empowerment and Development Project.
GILBAKKA'S COMMENT: This is great news. Congratulations to the three ladies. They are beacons of hope for others who want self-improvement.