Senior Education Officer (Examinations) with the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Glyne Price addressing a meeting at the Milton Lynch Primary School, Water Street, Christ Church for parents and guardians of children who will take the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination this year on Tuesday, May 7. (J.Gill/BGIS)??

Fill out all nine spaces on the Choice of Schools Form!

This is the advice being issued by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development to parents and guardians whose children will sit this year’s Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (BSSEE) on Tuesday, May 7.

Senior Education Officer,Glyne Price, stressed the importance of doing so, last Saturday, to over 200 persons attending one of the first town hall meetings held at the Milton Lynch Primary School in Water Street, Christ Church.

Mr. Price, who holds responsibility for examinations, explained that the Choice of Schools Form provided parents with the option of nine secondary schools comprising two open choices and seven from within their zone.

Elaborating on the importance of "writing down" nine schools he said: "I am serious.?? There are some parents that don’t go pass number four and if you know that on an average day, not on a good day, your child can score 80 or 90, then it is no bother.?? You can afford to fill four but if he/she falls down on that day because of your last parting words, then…"

Urging parents to be sensible in filling out the form, he said they should be well aware of the type of marks their child could achieve on the exam papers.?? "So if you know that your child can do 40 to 45 on a good day, do not seek to put down a school that carries a 80 plus mark…When you are filling out the Choice of Schools Form, be careful with your choice; there are some of you who are adamant that ???I must have all four of those schools’ [and] that regardless of what the teacher says, you will put schools outside of your [given] zone inside of your zone as either 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9," he said.

Explaining that when the latter occurred, the computer would eliminate those that did not belong, he said it would result in a call from the class teacher urging the parent/guardian to fill in the relevant choice as it pertained to the zone.

While it was accepted that parents should listen to the advice of the child’s teacher in making their selection of a school, Mr. Price maintained that at the end of the day, the final decision was theirs. The Ministry official said:?? "Regardless of what the teacher says to you it is only advice because you are the persons who will fill out the nine choices and on the bottom half (Part B) of that form is wholly and solely your decision. In other words, the nine choices that you place on the form is your decision."

Stressing that parents should consult when selecting the secondary schools, Mr. Price said: "Be careful when you are making your choices and discuss with both the class teacher and the other parent. You can’t just have one parent and you must have the input from the child making it a rounded decision so then that everybody is involved. Mothers often filled out the Choice of School Form without consulting the fathers and this often created issues for the Education Ministry.

"Every year, we have a problem with this form because sometimes for whatever reason the mother and father don’t see eye-to-eye and the mother as usual fills out the form how she sees fit without consulting the other half. So, when the father finds out how the mother fills out the form then all hell breaks loose."

At the end of the meeting, Mr. Price registered his satisfaction about numbers in attendance at the Milton Lynch Primary School saying it augured well. "The more parents that turn out, the better [because] the more discussion we will have and hopefully, the more discussion we have, [then] we would be able to look at a wider range of issues…" he said.


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