While 3 401 students wrote today’s Barbados Secondary School Entrance Examination (BSSEE) at 22 centres, 58 Class 4 students will now write the examination on August 11.
Acting Chief Education Officer Joy Adamson, during a post examination briefing at the St Leonard’s School, Richmond, St Michael reported a relatively smooth day. She said the decision was made to allow students at Reynold Weekes Primary to sit the 11-Plus next month after the school’s experience with a COVID-19 case there.
Adamson said a number of students are awaiting COVID-19 test results, while others are being quarantined.
The Chief Education Officer said those students who will be writing the exam at another date will not be disadvantaged in any way.
“I know yesterday [Tuesday] we had quite a few parents calling in to some call-in programmes saying that they felt the students might be disadvantaged because of the allocation process. They will not be disadvantaged. They will be in the same pool and the allocations will be done with all the others.
“We might have had students who might have had an accident, who might be ill. They can also write the alternative paper as well.
If they don’t make the 11, we do have a further date set that those persons will be able to write the exam so that they will be assigned to secondary schools.”
The education chief said there were no major issues at the 22 examination centres, including the Barbados Community College (BCC). She said there were no reports of students falling ill, although immediate amendments had to be made to the registration list to accommodate students whose names were not oit.
Ten early sitters, 10 students who were homeschooled and 85 non nationals were among those who wrote the examination.
Meanwhile, Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw thanked those Class 4 teachers who taught for the additional two weeks to ensure that the cohort of students was ready to sit the examination.
She said it has also been a challenging year for the students and teachers who were forced to adjust to online teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ash fall and severe weather systems.
And while urging the students not to allow the 11-Plus results to determine their future, Minister Bradshaw said the ministry is aware that there will be challenges in the upcoming school term as there are students entering secondary school with a number of deficits.
She said changes will have to be made to the syllabus and strategies to address the deficits, adding that parents must also play a role in assisting with the effort.
The minister said: “When we did a number of assessments, we realized that there were some students who would have been on a trajectory to do well, but as a consequence of all the factors related to COVID, they would not have performed at their very best. We are mindful, based on those assessments, that we are going to have to do more heavy-lifting.
“We were doing it before and we are going to have to do more in this coming term. We were hoping that we could have continued with the summer school programme, but obviously that has had some challenges because of the increase in cases. We are monitoring that and hopefully a decision could be made on that relatively soon.”
Minister Bradshaw also assured students who have contracted COVID-19 or may be in quarantine that the Ministry of Education is bending the rules to accommodate them.
She anticipates that the beginning of the new school term in September will not be an easy ride, but noted that stakeholders are hopeful that students will be able to return to the classroom for face-to-face teaching. (AH)