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Christopher Phillips (left), one of the Top 20 students rewarded for his achievement in the Barbados Secondary Schools??? Entrance Examination receives his Mont Blanc pen from Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones while Representative of Diamond International Michal Hassid looks on. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??

A tracking system on children taking the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (BSSEE/11-Plus) will soon be fully introduced.

This was intimated yesterday by Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, as he addressed the Diamonds International inaugural presentation of MontBlanc pens to this year’s Top 20 students in the BSSEE.?? It was held at Limegrove Lifestyle Mall, Holetown, St. James.

Minister Jones told the students, parents and teachers present that with technology throughout schools on the island, efforts were on to ensure all students would obtain their reports via that means. "So, we are going to be able to track you to see how you have been performing recently," said Mr. Jones, while adding that a "small study", which had recently been undertaken to track students from 2003, would soon be expanded.

Explaining that the Ministry had examined students who were within the top 1000 of 2003, and reviewed their progress over a nine year period, he said: "It started to show some very interesting pictures…In fact, it has shown that some of the children who were the ???highfliers’, those who did exceptionally well at the BSSEE, started to slide at secondary school."

Stressing that there were myriad reasons why children were not as focused as they were at primary school, he said. "There were some students who were lower down the academic pile who moved up…If you take learning for granted you can slip, whereas someone who remains committed to the path of learning can move upward because it is a dynamic flow."

In congratulating the Top 20 students, the Minister said "being among the Top 20 was not an easy exercise" and urged them to stay committed to developing self, family, community and nation, and remain focused on their "learning journey" that could entail up to 22 years of formal education.

"Learning is important not only in itself, but also in what it gives to the society and human kind…This is why Government spends so much money on education and why parents stay committed to your development, and teachers and principals?? work?? with you assiduously," maintained Mr. Jones, a former teacher.

As he complimented Diamond’s International for recognising the students, he lamented that penmanship was disappearing with the use of the computer and urged students to let their writings soar to the highest grade.

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Minister of Education, Ronald Jones, with the awardees. At right is Representative of Diamond International Michal Hassid. (C.??Pitt/BGIS)??????

Meanwhile, Representative of Diamond’s International, Michal Hassid, in presenting the MontBlanc pens to the Top 20 students said "You are all proof that hard work, dedication and a desire to triumph are the key ingredients to achieving one’s goals."??

She stressed: "Today, when a person uses his computer for all writing purposes he loses his identity. The pen is the only writing device which enables personal expression, turning us all into artistes. Personal writing serves as a fingerprint or a DNA which differs from person to person. Your handwriting is a personal mark, accessible to all. It can open doors for you and at the same time close them."

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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