Chief Secretary and Secretary of Education Kelvin Charles has confirmed that 124 Tobago students scored below 30 per cent in this year’s Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA).
Charles made the revelation as he addressed members of the media during Wednesday’s post Executive Council media briefing at the Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation in Sangster’s Hill, Scarborough.
Charles said: “Last year, 167 students got under 30 per cent, and this year 124 students scored below 30 per cent. What that means is that there has been a decrease of 26 per cent in the number of students who has scored under 30 per cent. Again, that underscores that something positive is happening in the education system and we’re moving in the right direction.”
He said that 61 students who scored under the 30 per cent pass mark in 2018, re-sat the exam in 2019, however only 39 students will be re-sitting in 2020, a 36 per cent decrease.
Charles also sought to clarify a misunderstanding to a claim he made last Friday, when the results were released.
“I made the point repeatedly that in terms of the 2019 SEA results, we have created history in Tobago. In that, it is the first time that we have been able to secure three places in the top 200. I never did say, nor did I intend to have it interpreted, that it was the first time that we were having someone in the top 200.”
He said this feat was achieved after some changes and innovations in the education system which are now beginning to bear fruit.
He also reiterated that Buccoo Government's Sebastian Rampersad’s 18th placed nationally was the island’s ever finish in the exams, countering a social media campaign post that said it wasn't true.
Charles dispelled that rumour by meticulously detailing the top placed students in Tobago and their placements nationally from 2006 to present.
In Tobago, a total of 933 students in Tobago wrote the 2019 SEA examination – 464 boys and 469 girls
Charles also addressed school repair work during the July/August vacation period. He estimated it to cost between $14-15m, as 50-54 schools will undergo repairs during the period. He said there are 100 work packages.
“We would have had the success in the last two years of completing our major repairs to our schools in time for the reopening of schools. For the last two years, we have had no difficulty in doing that and we boast about 100 per cent of our schools being ready for the reopening. We are undertaking a little more work this year and with some additional schools, but the objective is the same.”