The hard work is finally over and now it’s time to relax and unwind.
After months of lengthy preparation, sacrifices, extra lessons and nervous moments there was joy today at the end of the Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination, otherwise known as the 11-plus, for the majority of students.
What is traditionally a stressful day started just around 8:30 a.m. when a total of 3,246 primary school pupils entered examination centres across the island.
At the Frederick Smith School where four schools were accommodated – St Albans Primary, St Silas Primary, St James Primary, Welches Primary and Good Shepherd – parents, guardians and well wishers did well to calm any nerves.
Hugs, kisses and words of encouragement were plentiful even for those who turned up late and had to run into the examination room, where pupils also received a blessing from God before they got down to work.
There were, however, some anxious moments for students such as Kimani Kinch of St Albans, who forgot his stationery and had to sprint back to his teacher’s car before the
9 a.m. start.
Overall, however, the Ministry of Education described the process as smooth, and when the bell rung at 1p.m. signalling the dismissal of the students, it appeared that they could not wait to greet their loved ones. Some cried while others jumped for joy, simply relieved that it was all over.
Asked to comment on the actual exam, the majority said this year’s paper was “manageable”.
“ The exam went well for me. I think it was pretty easy. All I would say is that the paper was easier than I expected because I heard my friends say it was really hard last year, so I was looking for it to be difficult, but it wasn’t,” said Jana Rosemond of Good Shepherd, who has her eyes set on a place at the Foundation School.
Sharing similar thoughts was St Alban’s Kenyon Goodridge, who is hoping to pass for a school in the north of the island.
“The exam for me was good. The Maths and Grammar weren’t that hard. It was manageable. I like Maths and that was my favourite paper,” Goodridge said.
However, another student told Barbados TODAY this year’s examination was neither easy nor hard, but in between.
“It was easy, but still challenging a little bit. The Maths in particular was easy. I just went through it,” he said, adding: “I knew most of the subjects so it wasn’t that difficult. What was challenging for me was that at times I forgot certain topics. Lucky for me when I quickly prayed to God and asked him for help, I remembered.”
At the end of today’s exam, it was time for a special treat.
Over at Divi Southwinds students from Reynold Weekes Primary and Stephens Primary were treated to some of their favourite delights, including hot dogs, burgers, chicken and chips.
After digesting the meals it was then fun and sun as students traded their school uniforms for swimwear, entering the pool for a game of water volleyball.
This scene contrasted to the one at the Hilton Barbados Resort this afternoon where a mass casualty situation was triggered after an inflated slide collapsed leaving 26 people injured.
Police investigations are continuing.