The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) and the TT National Council of Parent-Teachers’ Association (TTNCPTA) have disagreed with Cabinet’s decision to change the date of the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination from May to March.
In a joint statement published in today’s newspapers the organisations said they were shocked to learn via the media of this decision.
On September 8, Education Minister Anthony Garcia in a press conference announced the change would take effect in the 2018 to 2019 academic year. He said Cabinet made the decision as it was more feasible and cost effective.
In their statement, the two associations said it was “incomprehensible” that the Ministry of Education would make such a major decision affecting the education system without consulting with them.
They said they were “flabbergasted” by the reasons cited by the ministry for the change. These reasons were that SEA papers can now be marked during the two weeks Easter vacation period, there would be no need to temporarily close secondary schools that are being used and marking centres and teachers selected as markers by CXC would not be required to be away from classes.
In a poll of their membership conducted by TTUTA, they found that more than 80 percent of the respondents believed that students benefited from the extra time the May date afforded them.
Teachers pointed out that they welcomed the extra time to better prepare t heir students for SEA.
“We firmly believe that when such significant decisions are to be made, the major stakeholders should be meaningfully consulted.
We are also of the view that, in this case, the students’ best interest should not be sacrificed for expediency,” they said.
The organisations called on the Ministry of Education to immediately engage with them on the issue with a view to arrive at solutions to “this imbroglio.
If the Ministry of Education views both organisations as major stakeholders then it would no nothing less.”
Efforts to reach Minister Garcia for a comment yesterday proved futile.