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Gopeesingh: Govt to take new look at primary school assessment
The Ministry of Education will be re-examining and redefining the Continuous Assessment Programme (CAP) in primary schools. That was announced yesterday by Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh at a press conference at the Ministry’s Alexandra Street, Port-of-Spain, offices. He said CAP, which was implemented in 2000 by then education minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar under the United National Congress (UNC), had failed under the previous administration from 2004 to 2010. He said the results of national testing done in the six-year period under the previous administration were not used to benefit the primary school curriculum.
Gopeesingh said results from national testing were “not adding any value” to the primary school educational system. He said: “We will be refocusing a system that has failed from 2004 to 2010.”
Gopeesingh said the ministry had joined with the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) to develop a more efficient and “less stressful” system of national testing.
He said consultations had taken place with key stakeholders, such as the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA), the T&T Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) and the heads of various denominational schools. He said the ministry was relying on public feedback and would hold a national public forum on the primary school curriculum on January 25 and 26, next year. Gopeesingh said under the reformed CAP, national testing would include assessing the visual and performing arts. He said the ministry expected to have the review and standardised system of national testing completed in time for the 2012/2013 academic year.
Gopeesingh also addressed Government’s plan to expand the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme in an effort to provide universal education for all. He said there were approximately 34,000 children in the ECCE programme, 12,000 of which were being fully catered for in ECCE centres.
Gopeesingh said the ministry discovered there were 200 primary schools nationwide that were less than 70 per cent occupied and the ministry was in talks to incorporate ECCE centres in these schools, catering for another 12,000 children.
He said in the case of the 10,000 children still out, the ministry would hold talks with the private education sector and other public sector schools to accommodate the ECCE programme.
Gopeesingh said that initiative would take two years to complete. He also said the ministry was aware that some 30 per cent of children, between the ages of three and five in the educational system, had special needs.
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