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Ministry: Special consideration for students affected by COVID-19, Hurricane Elsa


Ministry: Special consideration for students affected by COVID-19, Hurricane Elsa
Officials from the Ministry of Education during a press conference, July 16, 2021. (Picture by Reco Moore)

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Arrangements have been made to facilitate students who have been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) and who are scheduled to write the upcoming Barbados Secondary School Entrance Exam (BSSEE), which is slated for July 28.

Even though the date for the exam remains unchanged, the Ministry of Education disclosed today that 27 Class Four Students from the St Jude’s Primary School are in quarantine and would therefore be at a serious disadvantage with regard to preparation.

Deputy Chief Education Officer Glyne Price, who was speaking during a press conference at the Ministry of Education earlier today, explained that students in quarantine, students who would have tested positive for the virus, or others who may have suffered trauma and are not mentally prepared to take the exam, would be allowed to write an alternative exam sometime between the end of July and the beginning of September this year.

With regard to Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) examinations, Deputy Chief Education Officer and Local Registrar, Dr Roderick Rudder, explained that the Barbadian students whose exams were interrupted by the passage of Hurricane Elsa on July 2, or who would have been affected by the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, will be given alternative exams next month.

Additionally, due to the issues which students have faced this year, which include disruptions due to COVID-19, ash from the La Soufriere volcano in St Vincent and issues with online learning, the Ministry of Education took the decision to offer deferrals for students that needed an additional year to prepare.

Price revealed that 120 students have applied for deferrals. He  also said that the Ministry of Education is considering changing the criteria for students wishing to take the BSSEE exams early.

With regard to CXC students, Rudder outlined the procedure for those who will be taking the alternative exams next month.

“This year because of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, we have had a situation where a number of students who would have been placed in quarantine, and we would have been following the guidelines by Ministry of Health as well as CXC in treating to those persons. At this stage, there were approximately ten persons who would have been affected by the need to facilitate such exams. Where it was possible to facilitate the e-testing that would have been done. In instances where there were paper-based tests the protocols were followed,” Rudder explained.

He added: “For those students who would have been impacted by the passage of Hurricane Elsa on July 2 this year, the Ministry of Education approached CXC to request special hardship consideration for those candidates. We have subsequently received confirmation that those candidates who were affected and unable to write exams on that day will be accommodated.” (Colville Mounsey)