Parents: Start CAP in Standard Four
By Miranda La Rose Friday, June 22 2012
click on pic to zoom in
No CAP by VAPS: Parents protest for a change in the start of CAP in primary schools outside of the Education Ministry, St Clair, yesterday. ...
After a protest by parents outside its St Clair offices yesterday, the Education Ministry has agreed to consider their request to not start the Continuous Assessment Programme (CAP) for Standard Five students in September.
The parents suggested that CAP, a component of the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) be implemented in Standard Four, and then staggered in the lower levels in the coming years.
“We agree that we will consider it,” Acting Chief Education Officer Harrilal Seecharan told reporters yesterday after a two-and-a half hour meeting with parents’ representatives from 15 primary schools at the Ministry of Education, St Clair.
The parents, who said they were not members of the National Parent Teachers’ Association, picketed the ministry, hoping to meet Gopeesingh, but he was attending a Cabinet meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister.
On reconsidering implementing CAP for Standard Five students, Seecharan said, “We indicated that we will continue to work to have everything ready for September but we will in fact take their concerns on board as we move forward. If that is possible we will look at it.”
The meeting, he said, focused a great deal on information on CAP.
“I think there were some gaps in the information they had. We acknowledge the need to share additional information. Many hadn’t information about the programme and the details. ”
CAP covers agricultural science, visual and the performing arts, physical education, citizenship education and character development. The ministry proposes to have CAP account for 20 percent of the SEA, with the remaining 80 percent coming from the mathematics and language arts exams which Standard Five students will sit next May.
Parents of students who will enter Standard Five in September worry that implementing CAP this soon is too much pressure for their children.
Suggesting the implementation be staggered from the lower levels of the schools so that “(children) could grow into the programme,” representative Marcia Smith-John said parents would like CAP to be implemented from Standard Four this year and not Standard Five.
“We are still hoping and praying,” she said, “that they take our suggestions and concerns into consideration because we do feel very strongly about it.”
John said parents felt CAP would benefit all children, if it was implemented in a way that was workable.
“I can see great results over an extended period of time,” she said.
After meeting with parents, Seecharan said the ministry has invited them to take part in the CAP workshops that will be held over the August holidays.
Parents, he said, were also concerned about resources being available to the schools and the training of teachers. The initial training, he said, will be complemented with a process for ongoing monitoring and support for teachers, as well as identifying other opportunities for training.
In response to parents’ complaint that a pilot should been done before the CAP implementation, Seecharan said one was conducted at several schools in the Caroni education district. The pilot, he said, was done to ensure CAP could be implemented within a specific time frame, and that the human resources needed would be available.