Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (ECYS) Rodolphe Samuel was not at Wednesday's press briefing.
PHILIPSBURG--Moving up the deadline for the Foundation Based Education (FBE) Exit Examinations can put unnecessary and undue pressure on students, teachers and parents, Prime Minister (PM) Silveria Jacobs said on Wednesday when asked about the drastic change in the dates for the 2023-2024 FBE exams.
The prime minister, an educator by profession, said she is not privy to why the change was made as this is not something discussed in the Council of Ministers (COM) meeting.
The drastic change in the dates of the FBE Examinations, which are scheduled to be held six weeks earlier than usual, has left many schools “shocked”. Schools are also worried about post-exam truancy, while some students wonder how they will find time to study and some parents are at a loss for words as to why their children are being placed in such a disadvantageous position.
The change was made without any prior consultations with school boards and with no explanation from authorities. The 2023-2024 FBE Exit Examinations have been scheduled to be held from Tuesday, April 9, up to and including Friday, April 12, 2024. The FBE exams are usually held mid-to-late May. The last exams were held from May 16 to 19, 2023.
Jacobs said while she was working in education, she experienced the same phenomenon of when the exam dates fall. “There is always the challenge of where it falls as it regards Carnival and what can be done and what level of concentration the children have once Carnival hits. So, I don’t know if that’s playing a role and when the Carnival [is held – Ed.]. Those things usually fall within weeks of each other, but the FBE exam, let me be clear as an educator, is not an exam of the past year of the child’s life. It is a build-up of what has been learnt over time and specifically especially in the last two years – so a lot of what is done in the fifth grade, so group seven as well as group eight form part of and is part of the curriculum throughout,” Jacobs said.
“So, it’s a build-up of information. Unfortunately, we focus on the exam and lose track of actually ensuring that we go in depth in some of the content. I have experienced this in terms of the deadlines. And so, yes, moving up the deadlines can put unnecessary and undue pressure on our students, on our teachers and everyone concerned – parents as well,” she said.
The prime minister said the question would be posed to the relevant departments that may have come up with these projections, which are the Division of Examinations, the Inspectorate and the Department of Education.