Let me start by saying that I don’t know how Ministry of Education Officials can actually go public and state without any problem that students who need special concessions for the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam must send in their application two years in advance. Are they hearing themselves? TWO YEARS?
They also claim that the issue of this year’s examination was due to the fact that parents applied too late. So this has nothing to do with the Ministry of Education’s known inefficiency in handling these applications in a timely manner. Instead, it is the parent’s fault who couldn’t apply TWO YEARS in advance. Did I say TWO YEARS?
It doesn’t end there of course. The Chief Education Officer stated the week before the SEA exam:
“I can tell you this year we have had requests for 403 students for concessions, we’ve actually approved 284 — 24 of those have been withdrawn.”
“For the 2019 SEA the ministry received 431 applications for concessions, of which 298 were granted, 68 applications withdrawn and 71 denied.”
Basically, nobody knows the exact number of the concessions that were denied. Maybe, not even the Chief Education Officer. Parents who received a refusal notification were told by ministry officials that they cannot query the decision. However, the Chief Education Officer says there is an appeal process. I feel like we are playing “Who wants to be a millionaire” in which I ask: “Is that your final answer?”
The icing on the cake has to be the statements in Parliament by the Minister of Education himself when he stated:
“The numbers of established positions in the special ed sector of the SSD is in excess of 500 positions that tells you that we have so many persons on board to ensure that our students are adequately taken care of therefore it is not accurate to say that we don’t have the requisite staffing.”
But then Dr. Lovell Francis, minister of State in the Ministry of Education stated with regards to the SEA exam issues with special concessions that the timeliness of the notification was inadequate. He indicated that this was due to shortage of personnel facing the Ministry.
Really? Shortage of personnel? I thought they were in excess of 500 positions?
It is hard to get the truth of what is really happening in the Ministry of Education but one thing is sure… many parents are not happy with the system nor the way it is managed. In the end, it is the children that suffer.