Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination students should not be stressed out by the pressure placed on them by their parents who want to pre-determine what secondary school they attended. Education Minister Anthony Garcia said all systems are in place for the May exam where all students were guaranteed a placement.
Garcia, during a news conference on Wednesday at the Education Ministry head office, St Vincent Street, Port of Spain, said there would be guidance for students, parents and students before the exam. “Every child has the opportunity to a secondary education. Some parents would want their children to go to certain schools and the pressure that is placed on those children to ensure they would be successful, adds to the stress,” he said.
Even with the sea ferry fiasco, Garcia assured that all test papers would be delivered to Tobago on time and students would not be affected. Chief Education Officer Harrilal Seecharan said there were 545 examination centres exams including 71 private schools and 199,181 students have been registered to write the SEA. The exam was scheduled for May 3.
Member of the Students’ Support System (SSS) Amanda Pedro advised students that there should be no last minute cramming and children should relax before the big day. She advised that each child should follow their own religious ritual and prepare themselves to be the best they could be.
“You are all a person of worth. Every child has a chance to SEA twice once they are under the age of 13,” she said.
Asked about zoning and placing students in certain schools, Seecharan said part of the Concordat mandated that 20 per cent of students were chosen for schools because of their faith, the choice of their principal, or the Dean of National Schools. While Garcia did not admit it, many students were chosen for their parents and other relatives’s affiliations to the “prestige” schools.