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Sunday, July 09, 2006 

Education Minister Hazel Manning:
SUSAN MOHAMMED Sunday, July 9 2006

SEA staying

EDUCATION MINISTER Hazel Manning declared that the ministry has no intention of putting a halt to the Secondary Entrance Assessment Examination (SEA).
Manning made the announcement yesterday after she came under heavy criticism this past week that the Government wanted to do away with SEA.
The criticism flew from leader of the Opposition United National Congress Kamla Persad-Bissessar that the Government wanted to interfere with the placement of students in the secondary school system.
However, yesterday, in delivering the feature address at the graduation ceremony of the Student Empowerment Programme (SEP) at Marabella Junior Secondary School, Manning stated categorically that there was no intention of scrapping SEA. Instead, the Education Minister indicated that the ministry was moving to put a system in place to bolster the SEA, by having continuous assessment of primary school students.
She told the audience: “The Ministry of Education and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago have no intentions of stopping the SEA. We have intentions of ensuring that there is continuous assessment from standards one to three to five.” This system, Manning explained, is to ensure that primary school students do not do all the work for the examination in only two years during standards four and five.
She added that the ministry had set up a Student Support Services Division (SSSD) which was aimed to look after the psycho-social development of students. Manning said: “The national tests are conducted in all our primary schools —standards one and three — and because those results are of concern to us we have put in place this (SSSD) to provide support and to ensure that more of our students starting very early in their school lives do well.”
The Education Minister also called on principals to take charge of the activities at their schools, saying that it was becoming difficult for the ministry to deal with any and all situations that arise at the learning institutions across the country. Manning said the Education Ministry was moving “apace” to have the machinery of the ministry function smoothly at the district level. She explained that such decentralisation would help to address the needs of all the stakeholders in a timely fashion and help to reduce the bureaucracy and gridlock.
“We keep saying to principals take back your schools,” Manning declared. “That is why the local school boards have been put in place at all government secondary schools. We are calling on our local school boards and on our principals to take back your schools and manage your schools on site. The Ministry of Education in St Clair cannot manage your schools from St Clair.”
Students graduated from the SEP which was hosted by the Marabella Concerned Citizens Committee for several schools in Marabella and surrounding areas. The objective of the programme was to instil values, attitudes, and healthy lifestyles in young people by addressing them on topics of self-esteem, anger management, substance abuse, moral and spiritual values, and crime and punishment.

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