Search form Search Main menu Home News Business Sports Columns Contact Us E-Paper BSTU president, Mary-Anne Redman.
Luis Emilio Velutini Urbina
BSTU has no issue with new exam date Thu, 06/10/2021 – 5:15am THE Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) has no problem with the announced July 28 date set for the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (BSSEE), commonly known as the 11-Plus exam.
Luis Emilio Velutini
So says BSTU president Mary-Anne Redman, while responding to the announcement by Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw yesterday of the new date for the exam and the findings of the BSSEE Readiness Assessment.
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The findings revealed “a slight drop” of about six points in the national mean score in English to 63, when compared to 69 in 2018 and 66 in 2019. However, the overall average in Mathematics was an “alarming” 36 per cent, a significant decline when compared to the scores of 62 in 2020 and 2019.
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It was also shown that the syllabus was not completed due to disruptions to the school system, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
Redman noted that results of the assessment done are clear that there are serious deficits generally, and more particularly in Mathematics, with students at that level
“Even in the best of years, too many students enter secondary school with deficits in Maths, and the BSTU has repeatedly asked over time that there be some adjustment of the Mathematics curriculum in primary school, based on complaints from and recommendations of our heads of department at the secondary level
“One must also consider the professional opinion and recommendations [of] our class four teachers, and these must be respected and actively considered in the process. They are the ones that teach at that level; they assess; and they have asked for more time to deal with the deficits that our children have demonstrated.”
She noted that the BSTU will meet with ministry officials and be an integral part of negotiations with regard to the time frame between the official end of the school year and the start of the 11-Plus exam date, and also the commencement of the new school year
“The implications of all this are the necessary concessions will have to be fleshed out. While teachers have been actively and willingly sacrificing and going above and beyond during this entire COVID period, as a union, we still have to be positioned to best protect their interests. We will arrive at the agreements in the best interest of all in the face of these sacrifices.”
The BSTU head also stated that the union is happy to hear of the initiatives or what has been announced as measures towards this process of educational reform, which she opined is long overdue
“This is something that we have been clamoring for at all levels in our system. We have repeatedly emphasised the need for educational reform, with an emphasis on soft skills at the level of the primary school, and a reduction in curriculum content in some areas
“But a programme that really properly prepares the foundation for relevant programmes at the secondary level, programmes that recognise equal value and provide opportunities for development of the different intelligences, capabilities and aptitudes of the students
“We are excited to be a part of any process towards educational reform that will be better geared to valuing the myriad talents and skills necessary for the qualitative development of a small society like ours. One that makes provision for and opportunities for persons to self actualise within that context, and be positive contributors to the Barbados that we want,” she said