The National Grade Six Assessment for 2021 has been postponed from the March/April sitting, as the COVID-19 pandemic still poses as a challenge for students to engage in classroom learning.
Education Minister, Priya Manickchand made the announcement during a press conference on Monday, as she explained that since this is a placement examination administered locally, the Education Ministry can decide when and how to set it.
“It’s a placement exam. It’s not an assessment to determine whether you’re bright or not. It’s an assessment to place students. Are there other ways we can place students fairly to secondary school? We’re looking at that…I can tell you now that the exams will not be written in March/April. We’re definitely going to be postponing if we write it at all. We don’t know as yet,” Manickchand told the media.
This is not new, since the 2020 examinations were also postponed until measures were in place to keep educators and students safe.
The Minister said officials will continue to engage teachers across the country and monitor the COVID-19 situation, to determine what will be done to place students at a secondary institution. The decision will be based on the prevailing circumstances at that time.
For now, only students from fourth to sixth forms have returned to school since they have to prepare for CSEC and CAPE exams which are administered regionally by the Caribbean Examinations Council. Students who are attending Practical Instruction Centres (PIC) and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions have also returned to schools.
On Monday, the Ministry was able to gather information on students’ attendance from five regions as data from the outlying regions has been slow. Manickchand disclosed that there had been a 60 per cent turnout of the 21,000 registered students for Grades 10, 11 and 12.
“I think this is very high considering the many options that parents have,” she had expressed.
The Education Ministry gave parents the option of keeping their children at home if they were uncomfortable sending them back to school during the COVID-19 situation. Parents can also opt to have their children transferred to the nearest secondary school – a process that can be completed in less than 24 hours. For those parents who have opted to keep their children at home, the Minister urged that they stay in communication with the Education Ministry so that they can get the teaching materials.
She noted that the Ministry has had dialogues with students, teachers, parents and other officials in relation to the reopening of schools for face-to-face classes. (G12)