THE EDITOR: Form 4 students will be promoted to Form 5 in September and will be required to sit CSEC examinations in May/June 2021. This is an injustice to this group of students.
Firstly, they missed a whole term of work in Form 4. That term was very critical for the start and continuation of SBAs for most subject areas. In addition, a number of units/sections in the syllabus would have been completed in that term.
Although many teachers tried to keep these students engaged during the lockdown, many of them were at a disadvantage due to lack of technical resources at home. Therefore the work covered must be redone with all students when they return to school to ensure no child is left behind.
As a result of this, the portion of the syllabus planned for the Form 5 year will now be pushed back. Also, taking into consideration the Ministry's of Health guidelines for reopening of schools, these Form 5 students will be taught on a rotational basis.
The rotation will involve half or a third of the class at a time, depending on class size. Therefore in 15 weeks, only seven and a half or five weeks of work can be completed. These students cannot be prepared for CSEC examinations in May/June.
I am strongly recommending that those examinations test 50 per cent of the syllabus or even less. It is only fair to these students who have been adversely affected by covid19.
In addition, should schools reopen in September, only this year group should be brought out for the term. In this way the majority of the staff can focus on these examination classes. This arrangement will also allow for proper physical distancing and no rotation. Form 1 students can begin in January while those in Forms 2, 3, and 4 can be sent work virtually.
Lastly, the SBA component can be replaced by a paper 3.
Port of Spain