The nation’s class four primary school pupils head out on Tuesday to sit the common entrance examination – the Eleven Plus – with assurances from Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw that all systems are ready for their arrival – including the stationing of police officers – at the examination centres.
She said the ministry has been in communication with all 21 government secondary schools that will be used as examination centres and that she is satisfied that the students will be accommodated in relatively good conditions.
At a news briefing at the Ministry of Education’s Constitution Road offices, Bradshaw urged students to give of their best and called on parents to respect the fact that the country was still in a COVID-19 environment.
Bradshaw said: “I think they have been preparing over the last couple weeks for tomorrow, they understand all of the aspects of what they have to do, and so do the parents. We are continuing to ask the parents just to be mindful that we are operating in COVID-19 environment, try not to crowd the schools.
“We know you are anxious for the children going to do the exam but we also want you to be mindful that it is not business as usual and my advice to the students would be to just give of their best. A school does not define you; it is what you do at the institution when you get there in terms of your education.”
Chief Education Officer Joy Adamson recently reminded that secondary school teachers will supervise the examination as usual. The administrators at the centres will be responsible for the layout of the rooms to maintain the required physical distancing of six feet apart. A police officer will be stationed at each centre.
There will be no changes to the structure of the examination which consists of an essay and English and Mathematics papers.
While the examination remained delayed by two months owing to the public health emergency, the ministry’s announcement that the secondary school entrance test is to be abolished had triggered intense speculation that it would be scrapped.
In her New Year’s address, she declared: “You have heard us speak over and over about the fact that the Government is now committed to the removal of the Common Entrance exam—which seeks to relegate people to stations of life or no opportunities, depending on where they go after the [exam].”
The exam’s abolition was touted among “sweeping changes on the horizon” in 2020 for the country’s education system to create more diverse and equitable opportunities for schoolchildren.