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Wednesday 21 November 2018
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Let our son write SEA

Attorneys seek Education Minister's intervention

UPDATE:

The parents of an 11-year-old boy say he is being prevented from sitting the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam, next month, and are threatening to go to the High Court for an injunction to force the Education Ministry to let him sit the test.

Attorneys for the child’s parents have written to Education Minister Anthony Garcia asking for the child to be immediately returned to his regular Standard 5 class and allowed to take the exam. Attorneys Jagdeo Singh, Dinesh Rambally and Kiel Tacklalsingh say the child attended school in Trinidad for seven years, but was only recently told because he is not a citizen and does not have a student’s permit, he can’t write the exam.

The child and his parents are Guyanese. The attorneys say he has already made his school choices. “The child has been studying and working with great effort towards succeeding at the SEA exams,” the minister was told. He currently attends a primary school in Carapichaima. Last month, he was removed from the Standard 5 class and put in Standard 4.

Authorities at the school told his parents they were acting on the direction of the ministry, in accordance with a newly implemented policy. In their letter to the ministry, the attorneys quoted from the Equal Opportunity Act, the Education Act, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, to make out their claim that the child is being prevented from further pursuing his education and is being discriminated against.

The letter also said the child’s siblings also attended the school and successfully sat the exam in 2014 and 2017, respectively. It said the child had a legitimate expectation that he too would be allowed to write the exam.

The lawyers said they hope the matter can be resolved without their having to go to court, since the exam is mere weeks away. The minister was given until April 16, when the new term opens, to give instructions to have the boy returned to Standard 5, and be allowed to write the exam.

If they receive no response by Friday, the lawyers say they will ask the court for an injunction. A source at the Education Ministry says it has always been the policy for a non-national student to obtain a permit to register at a school in TT. The source said the ministry was simply enforcing the regulations under the Immigration Act. “It is not a Education Ministry policy but the law under the Immigration Act and the ministry is simply enforcing the regulations,” the source said.

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

PARENTS of an 11-year-old student say their child is being prevented from writing the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam, next month, and are threatening to approach the High Court for an injunction to force the Education Ministry to permit him to sit the test.

Attorneys for the child’s parents have written to Education Minister Anthony Garcia asking that the child be immediately returned to his regular Standard 5 class and allowed to write the SEA exam.

According to the attorneys - Jagdeo Singh, Dinesh Rambally and Kiel Tacklalsingh - the child attended school in Trinidad for seven years but was recently told that because he was not a citizen of this country, and does not have a student’s permit, he will not be able to write the SEA exam.

The child and his parents are Guyanese nationals. The attorneys say he has already made his school choices with the hope of being placed in one of the four after he is successful at the exam.

“The child has been studying and working with great effort towards succeeding at the SEA exams,” the minister was told.

The child currently attends a primary school in Carapichaima and last month was removed from the Standard 5 class and placed in Standard 4.

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