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Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is expected to announce the date for the 2020 Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination next week.

He said discussions were still ongoing with relevant stakeholders. “We expect to announce that during this coming week because we have consulted very widely. We are seeking to get some element of consensus as there are some differing views between the parents, the church bodies, the union and so on. We are trying to get as close as possible to a date that all can work with.”

During Saturday’s media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Rowley said the school system and all associated entities including day-care centres would remain closed until the proposed reopening in September.

He said a group had been appointed to work with stakeholders to come to an agreed position on the SEA exam.

“There is a view the exam should take place in October. There are other views that the exam should take place earlier.

“I am going to make a decision on that this week and as soon as that decision is made and accepted by the Cabinet, it will be made available, hopefully before the end of the week.”

Regarding the call for it to be done in October, the prime minister explained, “That would have far-reaching consequences. It would mean that the first term would be sacrificed. There is another view that we can get the exam done in time to save that term…

“If the exam can be had earlier to get the children into school by September, if that could be done without too much logistical trauma and impossibilities, we’ll see if that is the one we go with or if we stick to some traditional schedule and allow the exam to take place later in October, which means the new children can’t get into high school before January.”

Approximately 19,363 students were expected to write the SEA exam on April 2, which was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.