Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (ECYS) Rodolphe Samuel promised to get back to Parliament “as soon as possible” (see Wednesday paper) on why the dates of the 2024 Foundation Based Education (FBE) exit exams were scheduled more than a month earlier. United Democrats (UD) Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams had argued that it could not wait two weeks.
Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, in answering a question on the issue during last week’s press briefing, confirmed the adjustment can put unnecessary and undue pressure on pupils, teachers and parents alike. The educator by profession most likely knows what she is talking about.
The remarkable part is that no consultation took place with school boards in particular. While that may not be strictly required, when it regards significant changes one should in principle always discuss such with relevant stakeholders beforehand.
Schools are worried about post-exam absenteeism, while teachers as well as pupils and parents are apparently getting anxious about having enough time to prepare adequately for what will help determine where the candidates continue their secondary education. The decision may be related to carnival and its potential impact on the youngsters’ ability to focus, but whether it’s better to plan the exams before rather than after the festivities culminate remains a question-mark.
Hopefully Minister Samuel’s ASAP will indeed prove true to his word, because with the current academic year already well underway, all involved deserve clarity in a matter of days.