Saturday 4 April, 2020

Garcia: We are not Barbados, can’t abolish SEA

Education Minister, Anthony Garcia says that while Barbados’ Prime Minister, Mia Mottley can abolish the traditional model for the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA), Trinidad and Tobago has a lot more to consider.  

He cited the role of the church and the freedom parents in T&T have to choose which schools their children attend. 

Speaking during a media conference on this year’s preparation for SEA, Garcia addressed PM Mottley’s initiative.  

“If we are to abolish the SEA exam at this stage, it means that we will have to find an alternative method of transitioning students from primary to secondary school. We have been looking at this for some time now and we are yet to come up with a formula without running into problems with the church and with respect to the parent’s right to choose,” he said. 

Expanding on the role of the church, Garcia is reminding T&T that there are government schools and government assisted schools which are primarily run by various religious bodies. He says by their own arrangements, their place in such a conversation can’t be understated. 

“They have a 20% facility, where they can select the students to ensure that the religious character of the school is maintained, so all of these things are taken into consideration,” he added. 

Garcia says every country has its own responsibility to treat with their respective issues. 

“It is not simply that we can follow Barbados, we have our own things to deal with and therefore we are doing everything to ensure there is equity in the system,” he said. 

In her New Year's message, Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, reiterated her government's intention to abandon the exam. 

“Ten or eleven years old is too young to ask a child to determine what their life should look like for the rest of their life. In so doing, we will have to determine whether we literally expand primary education, create middle schools that every, single secondary school that will take children will be schools of excellence,” she said in her address.

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