Primary school principals from east Trinidad said despite all the challenges of the covid19 virus, they are proud and satisfied with the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) results of their students.
Moments before distributing SEA results to parents and children at their schools, some principals told Newsday they were nervous, as the past academic year was the harder since the beginning of the pandemic.
Having to deal with issues stemming from poor internet connectivity in rural areas, lack of proper devices and learning resources, and a communication barrier between child and teacher during classes, the principals commended the children and teachers for remaining resilient.
They also lamented those who have fallen out of the education system.
In the end, the principals said they have identified all the issues and are working on solutions to give the next group of SEA students a better chance at transitioning into virtual preparations for next year’s exam.
Grande Riviere AC Primary School principal Deidre Jameson described the results as fair but acceptable. She said special attention will be placed on maths, as the scores from this year could have been better.
In the coming months, Jameson said she will spend time analysing the results to find ways to make e-learning easier and more receptive.
“Many of the children got their first choice,” Jameson said before exhaling deeply and adding, “There were many problems, because on our side internet connectivity is a problem, but because the children were willing, they pulled through. Still, there is nothing that beats face-to-face classes.”
She made special mention of standard 5 teacher Veronica Edwards, who went beyond the call of duty to ensure the children felt confident going into the exam.
“She came up with a lot of strategies. She went above and beyond, she found creative ways and means to overcome each challenge."
Acting principal at Guaico Presbyterian Primary School Margaret Mohammed described the last few months leading up to the exams as a tough journey.
“It was the first time the class had to be online for the entire academic year before SEA. Both teacher and children had their social challenges at home,and issues learning how to transition and function in a virtual classroom. In this area we have many challenges with the internet: many didn’t have devices.”
Despite the obstacles, Mohammed said she was pleased with the outcome.
“They have risen to the challenge. I congratulate all the teachers, they have always been committed, dedicated and hardworking.”
Birch RC principal Vidia Rampersad said she was shocked by the outstanding performance of the children, considering all the issues that made virtual classes difficult.
She said the school is working to get all stakeholders on board to ensure the next SEA group has proper devices.
“We have had challenges here, more than a lot of schools, where some children don’t even have electricity. So we are working with the councillor in the area to bring electricity to them.”
Swaha Hindu College principal Pundit Ishwar Madho Mahara applauded the lower school for their hard work. He spoke to Newsday after collecting the SEA results on behalf of the primary school. He hopes to see children return to face-to-face classes.
Newsday also spoke to some parents and students after collecting the results. All were relieved and satisfied with the results.