Encourage and re-assure children who will take this year???s Barbados Secondary Schools??? Entrance Examination (BSSEE).

This is a key message contained in the 2014 Guide on Government Secondary Schools, now in the hands of teachers, parents and guardians.

Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, in expressing best wishes for success in the examination, said it marked ???the continuation of one stage of education???s journey and the beginning of yet another important one that you will embark on.???

Reminding parents of their supportive role in the process that will move their charges from primary to secondary school, the Minister urged them to be ???patient and steadfast??? as they help ready them for that day.

???Remember that encouragement and reassurance is needed instead of undue pressure and the instilling of fear. All must remember that our children possess varying abilities but continued support of the students must not be compromised no matter what the results may be,??? he stressed.

The examination is slated for Tuesday, May 6 and, as with previous years, it will be taken at the 22 secondary schools across the island from 9:00 a.m.

Parents and guardians are urged to ensure that children are well prepared and at the respective schools in good time.

???I impress upon you to celebrate your children???s achievements and performance. They will have done their best. Whichever school your child may attend please be assured that an equal opportunity will be presented for them to realise their fullest potential. Each child matters.
???All efforts will be made to ensure that students??? needs will be met no matter the learning style or the rate at which the child may be working,??? the Minister added.

While extending best wishes for their ???continued journey??? at the secondary level, Mr. Jones reminds students that as they enter their new schools they will be exposed to new qualifications geared to assist them as they venture into the world of work. These additional modes of certification are the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competency and the Caribbean Vocational Qualification.

The publication, like the town hall meetings, held last month at schools across the island, gives insight into the many processes involved and challenges encountered in the administration of the BSSEE, familiarly known as the Common Entrance Examination or 11-Plus.

It offers details on each secondary school; flexible transfer; partial zoning with details on the three zones into which schools fall; and requirements for candidates with special needs, as well as non-national students.

The document also provides templates of forms, including the Choice of School, perhaps the most significant aspect of the 2014 Guide of interest to most parents/guardians.

The Guide reminds them that there are only two open choices where parents will be allowed to choose a maximum of two schools from anywhere in the island (including the zone in which the child resides).

Following this, a maximum of seven schools may be selected from the secondary schools within the zone in which the child resides. A school from the zone which is chosen in the Open choices cannot be repeated among the Choices from Zone category.

The Ministry has set a deadline of Friday, February 7, for the return of this important form which must be handed in to primary school principals.

With about two months to go before the BSSEE, Ministry officials are reminding parents and guardians of the significance of the 2014 Guide on Government Secondary Schools, and have urged them to choose schools wisely since there will be no re-allocation of students at the first form level.


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