-Ministry to roll out robust plan to reach absentees
Grade Six students across Guyana began their first National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) Mock examination today whereby over 85% of students participated in the examination, whether in school or at home. Statistics are still being submitted by some of our Departments of Education.
Recognizing that at least 15% of our students did not participate in the mock examination, the Ministry of Education will be conducting a robust exercise to reach these students to know the reasons behind their non-participation. It must be noted, however, that among the options given to students regarding this examination was to not write it at all, whether at home, at school or online.
Today, Grade Six students wrote papers one and two for Science and English. They will sit the Mathematics and Social Studies papers tomorrow, June 10, 2021. Education Officers within the 11 Education Districts were in the fields today making visits to all primary schools where children are sitting the examination to ensure all the required protocols are in place and being followed.
Minister of Education Priya Manickchand visited several schools today including the Graham’s Hall Primary School, North Georgetown Primary School and Stella Maris Primary School. Minister Manickchand said that this is the first time that the Grade Six students are back in school after being out of the classroom for more than 13 months except for the 2020 NGSA.
She said that she was pleased with the processes and protocols observed at the schools she visited. According to the Education Minister the students are properly distanced, wearing masks and have received the care packages prepared by the Ministry of Education which contains masks, sanitizer, pencils, eraser, ruler and sharpener.
Moreover, Minister Manickchand said that one of the issues which will be addressed is letting those students who have relocated to other communities, write the examination at a school closest to their home. She said that this will be facilitated by the Ministry of Education. She said that with the prevailing circumstances presented by COVID-19 and flooding, now is not the time for the Ministry to strictly apply rules. She said that the Ministry of Education will be liberal in its approach so that the needs of students and parents can be met.
She said that there are some villages in Region Nine that are on lockdown as a result of the pandemic thereby making it impossible for students to write the examination as scheduled. According to Minister Manickchand, some schools in Region Two, Kwakwani and along the Mahaicony River will not be writing the examination today due to tremendous flooding.
Despite the flexibility offered to students now for the mock examinations, Minister Manickchand noted that students will not be allowed to write the NGSA at home or online due to issues surrounding credibility and integrity.
To those parents whose children will be writing the mock examinations at home, Minister Manickchand appealed that the best approach parents can have in that situation is to not offer any assistance to the child as they write the examination.
She said that the children should be allowed to complete the examination on their own and timed according to the examination stipulation. She said that the results of this examination will not be used to rank students so parents do not need to worry about their child’s performance as against their peers since the mock examination will be used as a diagnostic test to ascertain the student’s areas of weakness. Minister Manickchand said this is necessary so that teachers can use the remaining time before the official NGSA in August to better prepare their students. The second mock examination is scheduled for July 2021.
As part of the Ministry’s efforts to assist parents and students to sit these examinations, each student would have received a care package containing masks, pencils, eraser, sharpener, a ruler and hand sanitizer. Teachers and support staff will also receive hand sanitizer, face masks, face shield and vitamin support.
Earlier in the year, the Ministry also distributed to Grade Six students a study package containing notes, worksheets, past papers and several textbooks. These efforts are to ensure that our students can be properly prepared to sit this examination despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.