The 2016 National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) examinations will be written on April 27 and April 28, a month after the traditional time for the annual sitting.
The NGSA has in the past been written on the Monday and Tuesday after school closes for the Easter holidays. The new term, which will begin on January 3, 2015 will last for 11 weeks, therefore it was expected that school would officially be closed on March 18, 2016 and the examination written on March 21 and 22.
However, Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan has announced that March 18 will be the date on which the long awaited local government elections will be held. Schools are normally used as polling sites yet since Bulkan made this announcement last month there has been no official word from the Ministry of Education on how the selected date will affect the completion of term end examinations.
There have, however, been reports that the NGSA will be postponed.
Yesterday in an invited comment, Chief Education Officer Olato Sam confirmed to Stabroek News that the date has been changed.
He explained that a circular has been sent to the various Regional Education Officers so that they can inform the schools in their region.
Asked the reason for the change, Sam directed this newspaper to the Ministry’s Public Relations Officer, who referred inquiries to the office of Education Minister Dr Rupert Roopnaraine.
While Roopnaraine claimed to not remember the specific reason why the change was made, he noted that it was made for “a very good reason.”
This is not good enough for parents, some of whom were told of the change when they went to collect their children’s end of term report on Friday.
One parent of a child who attends a private school in the city said that this change would negatively affect the children’s ability to enjoy the Easter holiday.
“This exam is already a lot of stress and the children really looking forward to relaxing after but now they might have to spend the holiday studying. It ain’t fair to them,” said the woman, who did not want to be named.
Another parent, whose child attends St Margaret’s Primary, told Stabroek News that this information was communicated to the children without explanation. “The teacher just told them the exam push back without telling them the new date or why it was moved,” she said.
Several grade six teachers contacted across the Region Four and Georgetown education districts told Stabroek News that they had not yet received the circular and therefore have not communicated anything to parents or students.
There is also confusion about whether or not they will be expected to write an end of Easter Term examination and what, in particular, this postponement will mean for teacher’s administration of the curriculum.