All systems are a go as thousands of 11-year-olds sit tomorrow’s common entrance exam – the 11-plus – officially known as the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (BSSEE), said Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw.
She told Barbados TODAY this evening that her ministry has put all technical requirements in place to ensure a smooth flow of the four-hour exam, expected to be written by 3,382 primary school pupils – 1,766 males and 1,616 females.
Bradshaw said: “The directive I have been given by the Chief Education Officer [Karen Best], is that everything is in place and ready to go for tomorrow. I want to wish first of all, the students who are sitting the examination well.
“I know that many of them have had to attend extra lessons and would have missed on extra curricular activities. I pray that they would be relieved of the burden that they carried for some time as they prepared for this examination, come tomorrow.”
Bradshaw reminded pupils who are registered to write the examination at 22 secondary schools across the island, to give of their best as they would any other examination or challenge they may have to face throughout their lifetime.
She said parents and teachers must also remind students that the exam is another measure to assess them, to transition from primary to secondary school, and was not designed to make them uneasy or put them under unescessary pressure.
“I just want to remind them that this examination does not define them, or determine how successful they will be in life. I know also that many of the teachers and parents have worked hard to prepare the students for the examination and this is a very important day for them also, as they too have sacrificed a lot to help the children to focus, and to give them the necessary support,” Bradshaw said.
This year, 14 students have requested permission to write the examination at age 10.
The ministry has also reported that 103 students have made requests to be deferred from writing the exam until 2020. Of those, 84 were granted permission to defer. Some 40 students have also been granted exemptions from writing the test.
Additionally, there have been 106 special requests made by parents on behalf of their children, mainly for extra time, enlarged print and breaks for snacks.
The BSSEE will also be taken by 142 non-nationals, who have met immigration requirements.
As a result of the exam, the Ministry of Education has advised that there will be no classes for secondary school students tomorrow.
The exam is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and finish at 1 p.m.