Thursday 29 October, 2020

MSJ offers kind words to SEA students ahead of exams on Thursday

MSJ Deputy Political Leader Radhaka Gualbance

MSJ Deputy Political Leader Radhaka Gualbance

The Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) has extended best wishes to Standard Five children, their parents, guardians and other family members, as the youngsters gear up to sit their Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam on Thursday.

MSJ Deputy Political Leader Radhaka Gualbance noted that the SEA exam creates pressure for students to pass for their first choice. She said this has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic as the exam, initially set for late March, was cancelled. Gualbance recalled that a series of uncertainty followed.

She said: "This was followed by months of uncertainty as nobody knew for sure when and indeed if, the exam would be held. The uncertainty was further aggravated by the closing of schools in mid-March and the use of on-line teaching as a substitute for the classroom. Then in July, classes were resumed only for them to be shut down due to the second wave of the COVID 19 pandemic. It was a case of start, stop and then start and then stop again. None of this could have been good for our students, who are 11 and 12 years old."

According to Gualbance, some of the children were disadvantaged during the closure of schools as many did not have access to Wi-Fi, data plans or the technology necessary for them to participate in online classes. She added that others had challenging home environments which would have made studying the more difficult. 

She said: “We can only hope that the Ministry of Education has taken these factors into consideration when the test papers are marked. The context in which this year’s SEA exam is taking place has created a very unlevel playing field, thus making a total mockery of the idea that the SEA gives each student an equal opportunity to fulfil his or her potential.”

Furthermore, Gualbance expressed hope that the novel coronavirus forces policy makers to review the education system. This includes amendments to the curriculum, how classes are delivered and the methodology of using examinations to progress students at such an early age.

Her final message was to the SEA students and their parents: “We offer just one piece of advice. Do you best! That’s all anyone can ask of you. We are proud of all of you! To the parents and guardians of our students – our advice is to give them love and support. That’s all they need at this time. And let us all rally around our SEA students as we make real, the wise proverb that it takes a village to raise a child.”

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