The Secondary Entrance Assessment Examination (SEA) will take place on April 2 this year and according to the Minister of Education, there are no plans, just yet, to abolish the exam.
Minister Anthony Garcia made the announcement on Tuesday during a press conference at the Education Ministry’s head office.
The education minister said the exam will be written by 19,363 students, the largest number in the past ten years.
Garcia said of those who are writing the exam 9,772 students are boys, while 9,551 are girls.
However, the education minister said while the Barbados Prime Minister announced her government’s intention to abolish the Common Entrance exam and embark on substantial educational reform in this new decade, the same cannot be done in this country, just yet.
In an address to the nation, Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley said, “Ten or eleven years old is too young to ask a child to determine what their life should look like for the rest of their life. In so doing, we will have to determine whether we literally expand primary education, create middle schools that every, single secondary school that will take children will be schools of excellence.”
Minister Garcia admitted though for some time now his ministry has been looking for an alternative method for transitioning students from primary school to secondary school.
But he added officials are yet to come up with a formula that will allow the transition of students from primary to secondary school without having any problems with the church and also with respect to the right of the parents to choose.
The education minister also explained what the SEA will be focused on this year.
“It is important for all of us to understand that this exam will focus to a large extent on creative writing, critical thinking and problem solving skills. Last year there was a general furore by some parents because it was reported that some of the children were not able to deal with some of the questions that they were asked to write. Remember that the curriculum at the primary level has been so designed to ensure that our students engage in critical thinking and problem solving not only regurgitation.”
Meanwhile, the chief education officer Harrilal Seecharan said almost 7,000 parents have requested that their children’s names and results not be published after the exam.
He said the education ministry will continue with the policy implemented in 2019, where parents can request to have their children’s names and results withheld from publication. Seecharan said so far out of the 19,363 students who will be writing the exam, 6,751 parents have applied for their children’s names not to be published. This figure represents just about one-third of the students writing the exam.