By Rachael Espinet Saturday, May 3 2014
Thousands of students from around the country have had their class time disrupted this past academic year due intermittent closure of schools because of various problems. Now, with the upcoming exam “season” Davanand Sinanan, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA), is concerned for the performance of those students who missed out on months of class time.
“Really and truly we know that a lot of students would be at a disadvantage with the loss of school time. It does not take a rocket scientist to think that those schools may not be operating at their best,” said Sinanan yesterday.
In September, at the beginning of the academic year, more than 25 schools did not open.
These schools include Mafeking Government Primary School, Manzanilla Government Primary School and Lower Cumuto Government Primary School. Rats, bats, pigeon infestations, faulty sewer systems, electrical and infrastructural problems were the cause of the schools staying closed.
Suspicion of toxic mould, faulty sewer systems, and other health hazards caused schools such as Tunapuna RC Primary School, Princes Town East Secondary School and Malick Government Secondary School to frequently close. Some of these schools were closed for months.
In the upcoming months students will sit the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA), Caribbean Secondary Education of Certificate (CSEC), Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and National Certificate of Secondary Education (NCSE).
Sinanan says he does not think the students who missed out on months of class time would be adequately prepared for the exam, the first of which is the SEA exam on May 8.
“I know teachers have been working hard to make up for lost time, but the fact is you have a major disruption of a number of schools, and that would cause an impact,” Sinanan said.
Sinanan hopes the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) would take into consideration the schools that have had problems during the year.
Chief Education Officer (CEO) with the Ministry of Education Harrilal Seecharan said the secondary school students who have been affected by their schools intermittently closing would have the chance to repeat the school year and sit the exam again.
“In the case of the primary schools we have provided additional times for the submission of the Continuous Assessment Component (CAC) to make up for lost time,” Seecharan said.
CAC is an assessment given to the Standard Four and Five students that will add to their final mark for SEA. Seecharan said the Ministry extended the CAC results deadline for the schools that had to close during the terms.
Secondary students are required to do School Based Assessments (SBA) for CSEC and Internal Assessments (IA) for CAPE. He said schools usually make their students write more SBAs and IAs than required, so those schools that have been closed for long periods do not have to worry about under submitting to CXC.
“The students would normally do a lot more assessments than required. Once they (students) submitted, it means they have completed their requirements,” Seecharan said. Seecharan further assured that this year’s exam period would run “smoothly.” Commenting on the execution of the CAC this year, Seecharan said the Ministry has received no complaints about CAC and believes it was a success.