RADHICA DE SILVA

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Parents of students writing the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) Exams are thankful that the date for the exams has not been changed but they are worried about many disadvantaged children who had no access to online classes.

In an interview with Guardian Media, founder and administrator of the Facebook group SEA Parent Support Group Rachiel Ramsamooj called on the Government to give students extra time to do their exams.

“As unfortunate as the situation is, I believe that the right decision was made to close schools. Continuing daily classes would only put them at more risk and a quarantine period from today means a missed exam,” she added.

She said there are concerns for the disadvantaged children but advised that parents utilize the practice papers in the media to help their children in the lead-up to exams.

“ I saw advice from the Ministry of Education to access classes from the TTT learning series carried daily. We need to fine-tune all the work which would have been taught leading up to the exam,” she said.

Ramsamooj also suggested that additional time be given to students on the day of the exam to complete the papers and or specify the genre of creative writing piece which will be tested.

“ Changes were done to the CSEC component taking the pandemic into consideration, might we look at doing the same for SEA,” she asked.

Meanwhile, another parent Kierron Yip Ngow, said he too was concerned for those children who had no access to online classes.

“We have not done enough to address this issue. I tried with a few friends to build simple systems for children who are not wealthy. The problem is many also can’t afford the Internet facility. Also, parts for computers around the world are taking a serious jam due to COVID and lockdown,” he said.

Saying the COVID period will negatively affect many children, Yip Ngow said it may take some time for them to recover and return to school life.

“Post-COVID will be challenging. I hope the new government does enough and listens to many of these administrators who have great solutions in these trying times,” he said.

He also lamented that children won’t get to enjoy post SEA together as a class.

However, he said it was expected because of COVID-19.

“ For us as parents we expected some drastic measure like this to come. We have to put the health of our children first and of course all teachers. We will go back over and over in our minds what could have been done differently. I think we all want it over with and for our children to perform at their best. They deserve that. Have the decisions of the present administration left psychological effects on them and all of us? Time will tell. For now, we place all belief in our children’s abilities,” he added.

On Wednesday, both the T&T Unified Teachers Association and National Council of Parent Teachers’ Associations (NPTA) expressed support for Government’s decision to scrap SEA preparation classes although the National Primary School Principals’ Association (NAPSPA) said the decision was warranted.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley made the announcement of the termination of classes on Wednesday.