THE EDITOR: Open letter to Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly.
I am writing to request that the time allotment for the SEA creative writing examination (50 minutes) be reviewed and reconsidered.
As many are aware, the SEA exam is already a stressful and anxiety-inducing situation for most children. The time limit for each exam inevitably adds to this pressure, though I understand that there must be some sort of reasonable time parameters.
With that said, there has been a reduction in the number of items for the language arts and mathematics paper given the setbacks that the pandemic has brought. However, I am left baffled as to why students are still only being given a mere 50 minutes to plan, write and edit an elaborate, detailed and advanced five-paragraph essay.
This gives less than ten minutes per paragraph and leaves students scrambling to complete their essay with "their hearts raging like 1,000 African drums" – as the children like to say. Why are we putting the students in a situation of such deadline-induced anxiety and panic? Why are we putting such a time constraint on them that they have practically no time to stop, to think or to breathe?
I'd like to propose an increase in time allotment to 60 minutes for the creative writing SEA exam. This will allow students a full ten minutes for each paragraph, as well as a little time to plan and to edit. I assure you it will still be a mad rush to the finish line (just a little bit less so) and will still be a fair assessment.
Please consider this minor change that can make such a big difference for young students all across the nation. Let's work on giving different types of learners a fair chance one step at a time. Ten minutes seems like a good place to start.
I'd be happy to meet or to discuss further. Looking forward to your response.
SEA 4 Teacher