Schools Ready For Hectic Term

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Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones (FP)

Schools are ready for the third term, which officially starts for students, on Tuesday, April 12.

This was signalled by Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, today as he spoke to the media during a break at the health fair hosted for staff at the Elsie Payne Complex, Constitution Road.

Mr. Jones said: "Schools go back as part of the routine of returning to school. We are ready, all teachers have been allocated or re-allocated and principals and the Ministry are generally ready for that role. It was a short break, not more than two weeks. For us, at the Ministry it is just a break – a transition between one term and the other."

Noting that the break this year was different, he explained: "This is a peculiar year, because Easter comes later into the [schools’] calendar…They will enjoy three or four days [off] during Easter, so they will have a little break, recognising of course, that as we move very quickly into May, we are moving into the Caribbean Secondary

Education Council exams. We are into our transfer exam from primary into secondary, so, they can’t be?? that much down time for students who have to make sure their school-based assessments are ready and sent on to the Caribbean Examinations Council and that they are ready to take the various exams."

Queried about the phasing out of the Common Entrance Examination, Mr. Jones stressed: "Until we are able to get other measurement modalities, it is an exam at the end of the primary school age… " And, he acknowledged that the debate was still open as to what methodology the ministry would use. He added: "Part of the problem relates to comparisons made between schools 300 or 350 years old and very recent schools, some less than 50, 20 or 10 years."??

Expressing the view that schools should focus more on raising the strengths and eliminating the weaknesses of students, Mr. Jones observed: "In fact, many of our schools, if not all of them are doing great wonders with the students. We do not consider what we call value-added in education and I’ve made the point before; students who come into any of our schools with 80 plus in an exam; in [the] 11Plus should be flying high, but we have not been able to track essentially where some of them go…

"Students who come in with 30 or 40 marks, at the end of their five or six year cycle, when you look at the value-added, it is substantial… some of them leave school with the same level of qualifications as the high flyers. But the system has not been able to talk a lot about that."

The Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (Common Entrance Examination) will be held during this school term, on Tuesday, May 3.

jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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