Minister of Education Rodolphe Samuel
PHILIPSBURG--In light of the concerns raised by school boards and the public over the change in the dates of the Foundation Based Education (FBE) Exit Examinations from May to April 2024, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) Rodolphe Samuel said he is consulting with ministry stakeholders about the matter. A proposal to change the dates is currently on the table.
Stakeholders being consulted include the ECYS ministry’s secretary general (SG), Division of Examinations, Division of Inspection, Department of Education, school boards and Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU).
“Taking into account concerns expressed related to the reduction in the number of available days students have for preparation for the FBE Exit Examination and indications that the summer vacation should be longer, the proposal was drafted and has been shared,” Samuel said in a press release on Thursday evening. “The ministry is awaiting the feedback of its stakeholders, after which the decision regarding the way forward will be made.”
The 2024 FBE Exit Examinations were scheduled to be held six weeks earlier than usual, a change that had many schools “shocked,” and “surprised” and some pupils anxious. The 2023-2024 FBE Exit Examinations were 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 May 16-19, 2023.
In addition to shortening the time that teachers have to prepare pupils for the exams, schools were worried about post-exam truancy, while some pupils wondered how they will find time to study and some parents at a loss for words as to why their children were being placed in such a disadvantageous position.
The change was made without prior consultations with school boards and with no explanation from authorities.