“Why isn’t mummy here?”
This is a question that often comes from the tiny lips of four-year-old Danielle Ramsoomair.
News that Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) results will not be released until late July has been described as “disappointing” by Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teacher’s Association (TTUTA) first vice-president Davanand Sinanan. Sinanan said yesterday the Ministry of Education had assured the organisation there would be no change to the release date since TTUTA had raised concerns about it.
The SEA has traditionally been held in March and results were released in June. This year, children will sit the exam in May and the results will be released in late July, according to reports. “We were given full assurance all systems were in place for script to be marked, results processed and students placed in schools by the end of term and not during vacation,” he said.
Sinanan said the ministry had not provided a rationale for the change or taken teachers and parents into consideration when making amendments. He said teachers were responsible for registering students at new schools and would not be able to do so during the mid-year vacation.
He added: “We also are concerned that this significantly cuts back on parents and students’ time to prepare for their new school term.” The delay in results and a proposed format alteration to the 2013 SEA exam will be discussed at a meeting with the ministry today, he said.
Ministry of Education media relations co-ordinator, Yolanda Morales Carvalho, said exam and results dates were pushed back simultaneously. She also said TTUTA never raised its concerns with the ministry and that teachers were expected to report for duty during the August holidays.
Although TTUTA disagreed with the ministry’s decision to move SEA from March to May, the National Parent Teachers’ Association (NPTA) supported the change. Maureen Taylor-Ryan, the NPTA’s first vice-president, said the extension allowed children with learning disabilities additional time to prepare.
She said receiving results in July would not have a severe effect on parents and students’ access to school supplies or preparation time. Taylor-Ryan said first-time SEA parents and students would have no experience of receiving results at an earlier date. She added that parents, teachers and guidance counsellors should be preparing SEA students for the shift in environment long before the holidays.