Sat | Jun 6, 2020

Dominica going ahead with national examinations

Published:Thursday | May 7, 2020 | 1:55 PM

ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC –A senior education official Thursday said students would sit the Grade Six National Assessment examinations later this year, despite the disruption caused to the education system by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Dominica, like many other Caribbean islands, has been placed on a lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus.

Assistant Chief Education Officer, Dr Jeffrey Blaize, said that the assessment is important to determine the placement of students attending secondary schools and that the authenticity of the exams will not be compromised.

He assured that all measures would be put in place to ensure the safety of the students writing the exams.

“Definitely, we will have the Grade Six National Assessment and there are several reasons why we should have…the assessment, because one, the information is very useful to the school system, particularly the secondary schools needing the information to provide an adequate learning environment for students.

“The other important reason is that our students have been preparing… for seven years…and there is that void,” he said, noting that these students “have put in a lot of sleepless nights and so on into preparation.

Psychologically, I am sure a lot of them are ready for the exam…and therefore you do not want to disappoint them.

“Obviously the modality will change. We will definitely be observing a lot of the protocols in terms of social distancing and everything else with respect to COVID-19 and we want to make sure our students write an exam in an environment that is very safe.”

Blaize said that while many may argue about the readiness of students, he noted that following the passage of Hurricane Maria two years ago, many felt that Dominican students would be placed at a disadvantage in nationals and regional exams.

“To a certain extent they were because we had a shift system, we had a number of things we had to do, but persons felt they would not have done well in the examinations…but the students did tremendously well and it means that the students are able to put on that added input when they need to.

“They are very resilient …and probably the exams might even be better for them than otherwise because they are looking forward to something. What we will do is that before they write the exams we will touch base with them…to ensure they are ready and no particular child is disadvantaged…,” Blaize added.

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