Senator Clarence Rambharat.

Based on the trend observed in COVID-19 numbers this week, a decision on whether the Secondary Schools Assessment (SEA) examination will be held on June 10 will be announced at the end of the week, Government Leader of Senate Business Clarence Rambharat announced in the Senate yesterday.

He was replying to queries by UNC Senator Wade Mark who had called for Government’s position on requests by the T&T Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) to postpone the upcoming exam in light of the increasing number of COVID-19 positive cases.

“At this time, the government’s number one priority is keeping our citizens safe. The government has put strict and robust measures in place to reduce the COVID numbers; the success of these over the next few days will impact greatly on whether the SEA will be implemented on June 10th as planned,” Rambharat said.

“While the examination is important; and all possible preparations are being made for its safe implementation; it is not more important than the health of the population and the latter will not be sacrificed for the sake of the former.”

He said the Education Ministry met with stakeholders on this issue on April 22.

“And we were all agreed that the examinations should be carried out, as far as possible; in an atmosphere of safety. The Ministry is cognizant of the mixed views on this issue- the concern of parents, teachers and students for their safety, as well as the mental stress on the students caused by the uncertainty of the examination date.”

“Students have been working towards June 10th and changing that date will be the option of last resort – the only consideration for postponement will be the safety of the population.”

“Based on the trend observed in the COVID-19 numbers this week, a final decision will be made and communicated to the public.”