The usual shopping trip for primary school students taking the Barbados Secondary School’s Entrance Examination (BSSEE) to purchase stationery for their big day won’t be necessary this year.
All 3,510 students from public and private schools taking the May 5 test will be provided with free kits comprising pencils, sharpeners, erasers, rulers and clipboards, compliments of the European Union under its Human Resource Development Programme.
Nineteen St Ambrose Primary School students taking the examination were the first to receive their kits today from
the head of the European Union Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ambassador Mikael Barfod, and Minister of Education Ronald Jones.
Barfod advised the students to make learning fun as he stressed that a sound education was critical. And as he wished them good luck, the ambassador reminded them that they were important.
“You are the future of this country. In ten, 20, 30 years’ time, you are going to run this country. You are going to work in manual jobs, vocational jobs, professional jobs, and one of you might take over from the minister. Who knows? One of you might become an ambassador as well. So you are much more important than the minister and I am; because you are the future.
“If you don’t get an education, and if you don’t succeed in life, Barbados will not succeed. Barbados will not be a happy place. Barbados will not be prosperous.”
Minister of Education Ronald Jones cautioned the students that the examination was not about luck, but rather about work.
“When you go there, you cannot reproduce that which you do not know. You have to know it to do it; and there is nothing on either the maths paper, or the English paper, that you would not have done . . . and teachers would not have prepared you for in a general and specific way. So just go and do it.
“Don’t worry about it. You have done it; you are ready.”
According to the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, 1,765 males and 1,745 female are registered to write the examination at 22 secondary schools across the island.