Greater investment in the secondary-school system is critical, says Lewis, pointing out low percentage of CSEC passes

The Government ought to invest more in education, particularly in the secondary-school system, according to MP Richard Lewis, who represents the St. John’s Rural West constituency.

Of the $169.4 million that has been allocated to Education and Sports this year, the Rural West representative notes that salary and wages account for 87.7 percent.

This translates to a small portion of funds being pumped into actual educational resources, he says.

According to Lewis, the shortfalls in the secondary-school system have prevented many of the country’s youth from being able to achieve tertiary education.

Lewis – a former teacher and a textbook writer – references the most recent Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) data, noting that, in 2021, only 21 percent of Antigua and Barbuda’s candidates passed five or more subjects, including Mathematics and English.

That figure plunged in 2022, when only 19.2 percent of students passed five or more CSEC subjects, Mathematics and English included.

The Rural West MP acknowledges that the COVID challenges of 2021 might have impacted the results, but he notes that the low pass rate is not unique to the past two years.