The decision makers in the Ministry of Education and by extension, the government of the day have found themselves in quite a dilemma as concerns the future of education for the nation’s children. This situation has largely been because of the sudden appearance of the Covid-19 virus which has somewhat thrown all previous plans into a tailspin. The effects of this pandemic could not be planned for since it was sudden and largely novel to the world.
Globally, planners may have been able to handle maladies such as the common cold, dengue and zika because we have seen the effects of these before but the Covid-19 is new to the world.
However, with the Ministry of Education still considering as to when and how with the impending examinations, it is strongly believed that the impact of the uncertainty could have been cushioned if the plans for Continuous Assessment Program (CAP) and National Tests (NT) in Primary Schools had been allowed to bear fruit.
Continuous Assessment tracked the progress of students from Standard One through to Standard Four and included all subject areas including Visual and Creative Arts. In National Tests Standards One and Three were assessed in Mathematics and Language Arts while Standards Two and Four were tested in Science and Social Studies. So, by the time a student reached Standard Five he/she would have been tested in all the main subject areas. All marks were recorded and analysed.
Consequently, with the disruption in education by Covid-19 this year it would have been very easy to place students in secondary schools as there would have been more reliable testing and scores over the years for students,instead of a one -off high stakes test in Standard Five.
Maybe, we should reintroduce CAP and NT.