The Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training has compiled a series of tips for both students and parents, as part of the final preparations for the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (BSSEE), which will be written on Wednesday, July 28.
Twenty-two examination centres will be utilised: all public secondary schools and the Barbados Community College (BCC). Acting Chief Education Officer, Joy Adamson, has said that “[primary] schools will be informed of the location that they will be writing their exam.
The BSSEE is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 1:15 p.m., and parents and guardians have been urged to make every effort to have their children arrive at the assigned locations by 8:30 a.m.
“You don’t want the children to be flustered so you want them on time,” Adamson advised.
She explained that parents and guardians would not be permitted on the compounds of the examination centres, and noted that the children would be received at the gate and then their parents could return at 1:15 p.m. to collect them. Persons have also been advised to observe the COVID-19 protocols while in the vicinity of the centres.
The Acting Chief Education Officer reminded students that in addition to having their stationery, i.e. sharpened pencils, clean erasers, sharpeners, and rulers, they should bring their own hand sanitiser, along with additional face masks. They should also have a light snack (e.g. sandwiches, yoghurt) and water/ juice, to be used during the break between the English and Mathematics papers.
Adamson also assured that provisions have been made for those who would require special attention due to a medical condition. “Students with special medical conditions, if you know you are asthmatic make sure you have your inhaler. If you need any other medication, if you’re diabetic and you have to take insulin, if you have to take a snack in between, we’ve had those special requests made and we’re aware of the children who would need this special attention,” she stated.
She also outlined the COVID-19 protocols that will be in place during the exam. “The desks will and the chairs have been placed three feet part. Students have been discouraged from assembling in large groups. We are requesting that all school monitors accompany their schools to the respective examinations centre or the BCC. Students will be supervised at all times, even when they are going to the bathroom.
“We are requesting that students keep their personal belongings with them inside the examination room and they must also always have their face masks on, except when they are taking that break. The snack break will be taken at their desks.”
The Acting Chief Education Officer also urged parents and guardians to ensure their children had a good night’s rest ahead of, and a nutritious breakfast on the morning of the exam. In the event that a child is unable to write the BSSEE next week (e.g. illness or being placed in quarantine), the education official noted that they would be able to do so at an alternative date. This arrangement does not apply to those who opted to defer until next year.