Students slated to sit the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (BSSEE) this year, familiarly known as the Common Entrance Exam, will have to wait a little longer to find out when the exam will be held.
Prime Minister, Mia Amor Mottley, in her most recent address to the nation last night on the COVID-19 response, said the exam would be deferred to another date, pending consultations with the substantive Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw, principals, teachers and their respective unions.
The Prime Minister also announced in her address that schools would not reopen next Tuesday, following the Easter break.
Previously, the date of the BSSEE was changed from Tuesday, May 5, to Tuesday, June 2, after the emergence of the novel coronavirus locally. At the time, Minister Bradshaw said the new date was dependent on the new school term starting on April 14.
As part of its contingency plan, the Ministry of Education has been working to implement the GSuite for Education online platform in time for the beginning of the new term to ensure students continue their studies in an e-learning environment in the event that they remain at home, as a result of the threat posed by COVID-19.
In her address, Ms. Mottley reinforced that e-learning, in the age of COVID-19, would have to be long-term.
“It is very clear that school cannot reopen on Tuesday, next week, as was originally intended …. It is also clear to us that we are going to have a long-term plan with respect to e-learning, distance learning and equally, we have to have the conversations with CXC (Caribbean Examinations Council) because as you are aware, there are at least two year groups who are expected to have CXC exams and these exams depend on a regional timetable and not just a domestic timetable.
“The Common Entrance, we have more flexibility, but for those parents who are anxious, I would say that those consultations with the principals, the teachers and the unions will allow us to see at what deferred date this exam may be possible. It is not for us to settle those things without consultation,” the Prime Minister explained.