From left to right: Principal, St. Leonard’s Boys School, Stephen Scott; Education Minister, Santia Bradshaw; and Acting Chief Education Officer, Joy Adamson in discussion at the post-examination media briefing at St. Leonard’s Boys School. (A. Reid/BGIS)

Education officials have reported that the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (BSSEE) went smoothly.

Speaking at a post-examination media briefing at St. Leonard’s Boys’ School this afternoon, Acting Chief Education Officer, Joy Adamson, said all of the reports received “indicated that there no major issues at any of the [examination] centres”.

She also revealed that ten homeschooled children were among the 3,401 children who wrote this year’s examination.

According to Mrs. Adamson, the students they spoke to were happy to be able to write the BSSEE today, after it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With regards to those students who were directly impacted by the viral illness and unable to sit the exam today, the Acting Chief Education Officer assured that they would be in no way disadvantaged.           

“As you are aware, we have some students who are either in quarantine, some who are positive, and therefore not available to write the examination. We also have one school, the Reynold Weekes Primary School, where we actually had to delay those students because we had a positive case at that school. So those students will be writing the exam on the 11th of August. That’s the date for the alternative exam.”

This alternate date would also apply those children who, due to an accident, non-COVID-19 related illness, or another event, were prevented from writing the Common Entrance today.

Mrs. Adamson further stated that if the students are unable to take the exam on August 11, the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training has “a further date so those persons will be able to write the exam so that they will be assigned to a secondary school”.

“…And I just want to make sure and allay any fears for some parents. I know yesterday we had quite a few parents calling into call-in programmes, saying that they feel 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,” the education official reassured.

Meanwhile, Education Minister, Santia Bradshaw, acknowledged the hard work of students and their teachers to reach this stage, in spite of the disruption to the education system within the past year.

Ms. Bradshaw also reminded students there was no need to place additional pressure on themselves. “… I think we as a society make such a big deal about the Common Entrance Examination, but I want to reassure them that today does not define the rest of their lives,” she maintained.

It was with this in mind that the Education Minister pledged her Ministry’s commitment to ensuring every child is in a position to “gain the best out of their education as they transition from primary to secondary school”, regardless of their abilities and talent.

nya.phillips@barbados.gov.bb

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