This year’s Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examinations were conducted "flawlessly" according to Education Minister Anthony Garcia, but insisted disciplinary action would be taken against anyone who leaked a confidential document which contained personal information about the students. The document surfaced on social media on Thursday.
Speaking at a media conference at the Ministry of Education's Port of Spain offices on Friday, Garcia was firm in his defence of the 2018 edition of the exam.
"Everything was done to ensure the integrity of the exam and we were very pleased to note that, perhaps for the very first time, everything was above board. Absolutely no problems until yesterday.
"If we find there is any wrongdoing by anybody and if we find there is any act of malice on the path of anybody, disciplinary action will be taken against that person or those persons.”
He also dealt with the demands for an increased stipend by members of the private secondary school principals saying, while the ministry agreed that the stipend should be reviewed, that could only be done by Cabinet.
“I have been on record as saying we have absolutely no problem over the fact that these principals of the private secondary schools have been doing an excellent job where education is concerned. We also have no problem with the fact that there is a need for an increase in the stipend that is paid to the schools.
"The final arbiter where this is concerned will be Cabinet and Cabinet will decide on the quantum of the increase after I take a note to Cabinet based on the recommendations of the ministry of education.”
He said the stipend paid was $1,200 per student per term, while the principals were demanding $5,700 per student per term.
However, he expressed disagreement in the manner which the principals had raised the matter saying they had disrespected both the office of Education Minister and himself as minister.
“I am very disappointed because one would not expect that type of behaviour from a group of professionals who are involved in educating our young children.”