A Venezuelan girl who was allowed to write this year’s Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam even though her student permit had expired, will not be moving on to secondary school just yet.
And while her parents are upset by the decision of the Ministry of Education not to assign the 13-year-old, they are appealing for help to regularise their status so she can continue her education.
Requesting their names not be published, the family who currently live in Chaguanas arrived in the country in 2012 via legal channels. However, their passports have since expired along with the student’s permit that was granted to the young lady for one year.
The family was among the 16,000 plus migrants that registered during the Venezuelan Migrant Registration Exercise that took place during May 31 to June 14.
Having enrolled at a denominational school in Port-of-Spain in 2012, the girl continued attending school even though her student’s permit expired in 2013.
Indicating her daughter had been performing well, the emotional mother said they attended the graduation ceremony last Thursday and did not suspect the girl would have been left in tears on Friday.
The girl who speaks English quite well said, "At school, we did the SEA booklets and though they were hard, I got through. I even went to lessons every Saturday.”
Described as one of the top performers in her class—the student indicated her first choice school had been St Joseph’s Convent, Port-of-Spain.
Indicating she had experienced a sense of confusion and disappointment after learning she had not been placed, the young woman pleaded, "I would love to go to my first choice and study there and then go on to university."
Hoping to get results before the new academic year begins in September, the mother said they were uncertain as to their next move.
Education Minister Anthony Garcia confirmed that nine non-nationals had been allowed to write the SEA exam even though their student permits were not in order.
He said, "They were given until May 31 to have their student’s permits regularised. Although they were allowed to write the exam, the immigration authorities and the laws of the country demand that students must have a student’s permit. At this point, that has not been done as yet in spite of repeated calls for it. As such, they cannot be placed in any school unless they have the student’s permit."
Garcia said, "It was on the expectation that they would have regularised their position, that they were allowed to write the exam and have an opportunity to move on to secondary school."