Sunday, January 22, 2017

Remove exam: remove stress

 The Minister of Education deserves some kudos for throwing out the idea of getting rid of the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination for public comment. If the idea is really about reducing or removing stress from the children, first and foremost, and by extension the parents, then it is a good one.

The mechanism of continuous assessment is already in place. By the time the children reach secondary-school age, the school already has a complete academic record of each child, plus a record of their attendance, punctuality and behaviour. The school has assessment on the children’s athletic ability, musical ability, dance and drama, also their attitude to their schoolwork and authority.

The SEA examination does not take these things into consideration. Why have these two systems side by side, when continuous assessment is far superior to a single examination?

Some children cannot perform on the day because of anxiety. Removing the SEA means parents would be relieved of some of the stress too, as they now pay for lessons, drop and pick up the children several times per week, etc.

 The SEA culture thing has given rise to a type of competitive behaviour among parents more than the children. It’s time we put an end to this. The  objectors would obviously be the teachers who make a lot of money from giving lessons. It is high time we really do what is best for the children.

Joel Quintal

San Fernando