Govt secrecy on NGSA changes unacceptable – Manickchand

Former Education Minister Priya Manickchand has blasted Government, particularly the Education Ministry, for failing to disclose the changes that will be made to the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA).

Former Education Minister Priya Manickchand
Former Education Minister Priya Manickchand

With just three weeks to go before the sitting of the NGSA, the Education Ministry has not yet made any disclosure of changes that will be made to the examination.
Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine and the Chief Education Officer Olato Sam could not be reached for a comment; however, sources at the Education Ministry confirmed that some changes would be made, but could not speak to the specifics.
Manickchand, who served as Education Minister for a number of years, said it has come to her attention that the Ministry intended to change the manner in which the NGSA, or a part thereof, was going to be written and marked. This change will begin at the 2016 exams, which are scheduled to be written on April 27 and 28.
She said up until now, Government has failed to inform all the relevant students, parents and teachers about the changes that are to be made.
She, however, could not say what the changes are.
“What precisely are the changes? Are our young children going to learn about these changes when they enter the examination room? Can they be expected to do their best in these conditions?
“This type of lazy, contemptuous governance is what the nation is coming to expect of this incompetent Government. In this instance, however, this is not acceptable, as it can severely, adversely affect the lives of our most valuable resource – our children,” the former official wrote.
According to her, “these changes” are the ones the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government had begun to put in place and had publicly spoken of, “but these changes were never meant to be a secret, hidden from the children, their teachers and parents and sprung upon them as a surprise”.
She, therefore, called on Government to immediately fully disclose what the changes will be, when they are intended to take effect and for immediate and public release, widespread instructions and information as to how a student may best comply with these changes by publishing samples, infomercials, etc, so that our children can be assessed for what they actually know and not for how quickly they can adjust to secretive, even if well intentioned, changes.