— five students from Saraswati Vidya Nikitan among top 10 at CSEC

After seven long months of waiting, Queen’s College’s Bhedesh Persaud was, on Friday, officially named Guyana’s top student at the 2020 round of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations after he attained 22 Grade Ones and one Grade Two.
With 14 Grade Ones and one Grade Two under his belt, schoolmate Zane Ramotar also top-scored, but at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE).
Coming a close second behind Persaud at CSEC, with 19 Grade Ones, and two Grade Twos is Anna Regina Secondary’s Duvina Seurattan, followed by Swasti Saytoo, who came in third with 18 Grade Ones, and three Grade Twos, also of Anna Regina Secondary, over on the Essequibo Coast.
In fourth place with 18 Grade Ones, and one Grade Two, is Geveshwar Rajkishore, who is one of five students from the Saraswati Vidya Nikitan (SVN) School at Cornelia Ida, on the West Coast Demerara.

Also from that school are the Chaitram twins, Shivnarine and Shivshankar, who both attained 17 Grade Ones and two Grade Twos to share the sixth spot, while their schoolmate, Atishta Seenarine, with 17 Grade Ones, and one Grade Two came in at number eight, followed by Chaitra Singh with 16 Grade Ones, and three Grade Twos at ninth.
The fifth spot was copped by Reyan Khemraj of the JC Chandisingh Secondary, all the way at Port Mourant, in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) with 17 Grade Ones, and three Grade Twos. From Abram’s Zuil Secondary, over in the Cinderella County, with 16 Grade Ones, and four Grade Twos, came Tabitha Alves, who rounded out Guyana’s top 10 at CSEC.
Coming a close second behind QC’s Ramotar at CAPE is St Rose’s High’s Naomi Cambridge, who secured 12 Grade Ones and two Grade Twos, followed by Christian Pile, also of QC, with 11 Grade Ones and one Grade Two in third place.
The results were finally announced by Education Minister, Priya Manickchand, who officially confirmed the top three students for CAPE and top 10 for CSEC.

Minister Manickchand, during her announcement, noted that though unconfirmed, she has been reliably informed that Guyana is thought to have also copped many of the regional awards for the examinations, which is administered by the Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).
“I see already in the news that we have topped several top positions in the region, including several individual subject areas, like business and technical vocational subjects at the CSEC, and the natural sciences at the CAPE level, as well as overall outstanding students at the CAPE level as well as the CSEC level,” she noted.
Speaking with the Guyana Chronicle following the announcement, the top CAPE and CSEC students both said they owe their success not only to the support of their respective families, but also their school’s Principal, Jackie Ralph, and the plethora of supportive teachers who helped them along every step of the way.
The top students at CAPE and CSEC were informed of the news just a few hours before the announcement was made by the minister. Ramotar was contacted by the minister.

“I was blindsided, because I knew they were supposed to announce it. But to have this happen out-of-the-blue, I was completely unaware. And after the phone call, I was ridiculously happy,” Ramotar said. Persaud, on the other hand, got the news from his mother, who had been contacted by a teacher from his school. He said that though caught unaware by the timing of the announcement, he had already known he had done well.
“Of course I was expecting to be named top CSEC student, because I really put in the work,” he said.

Both Persaud and Ramotar shared that they were not largely affected by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as they had already completed most of their studying by the time the virus had effected school closures in March 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic had adversely affected all students of the Caribbean nations which wrote the examinations.
The announcement of Guyana’s top performers at the regional examinations marked the end of a long wait for several students, who have had their preliminary results since September 2020. Though the top students are customarily announced using the preliminary results, due to an unprecedented number of subject reviews and backlash against the regional body, the Ministry of Education (MoE) took the decision in 2020 to await the official results from CXC.
“Unfortunately, that period took a really long time, and a lot of people were nervous,” Minister Manickchand said, adding: “The results of those reviews were delayed over time, because of various delays and lockdowns.”

Though it is also customary to announce the full list of the top one per cent of performers at the examinations, the minister explained that the MoE was relegated to announcing a truncated list, given that several students are still awaiting a review of their grades from CXC.
“Ordinarily, we would announce all the students who got 12 Grade Ones and more,” Minister Manickchand said, adding: “but there are still some outstanding reviews from CXC not yet received. The last reviews were received on 29 January, and some of those [outstanding] results, if changed, could change what things would look like beyond these top 10 students.”
She, however, sought to assure students that when the remaining reviews are completed, there will be a subsequent announcement of all the top students.
“I wish to say to those students who are 11th and 15th in the country that as soon as we have that information, we will announce it publicly and celebrate you, because you deserve to be celebrated,” the minister promised.

1. Zane Ramotar – Queen’s College – 14 grade ones, one grade two
2. Naomi Cambridge – St Rose’s High – 12 grade ones, two grade twos
3. Christian Pile – Queen’s College – 11 grade ones, one grade two


1. Bhedesh Persaud – Queen’s College – 22 grade ones, one grade two
2. Duvina Seurattan – Anna Regina Secondary School – 19 grade ones, two grade twos
3. Swasti Saytoo – Anna Regina Secondary School – 18 grade one, three grade twos
4. Geveshwar Rajkishore – Saraswati Vidya Nikitan – 18 grade ones, one grade two
5. Reyan Khemraj – JC Chandisingh Secondary School – 17 grade ones, three grade twos
6; Shivnarine Chaitram – Saraswati Vidya Nikitan – 17 grade ones, two grade twos
7. Shivshankar Chaitram – Saraswati Vidya Nikitan – 17 grade ones, two grade twos
8. Atishta Seenarine – Saraswati Vidya Nikitan – 17 grade ones, one grade two
9. Chaitra Singh – Saraswati Vidya Nikitan – 16 grade ones, three grade twos
10. Tabitha Alves – Abrams’ Zuil Secondary School – 16 grade ones, four grade twos