SEA 2020 date stands

On Thursday August 20th 2020, nineteen thousand three hundred and forty-four (19,344) students across Trinidad and Tobago will write the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA). The annual placement examination will be written by nine thousand seven hundred and seventy-one (9,771)   boys and nine thousand five hundred and seventy-three (9,573) girls. The Ministry of Education, under advice from the Cabinet will be adhering to the newly proposed August 20th date. In the best interest of students, the exam held on this date will allow for the Form One intake to enter secondary school without losing the full first term of the academic year.

When considering the change of date for the 2020 examination because of schools’ closure in March, the Ministry of Education consulted with stakeholders both internally and externally. Internally, the Curriculum Planning and Development Division advised that all primary schools had completed the SEA curriculum as there were only twelve (12) school days left before the exam. Externally meetings were held with the respective Union, Principal and Parent Associations and Denominational Boards.

Meetings were held by a Ministry of Education team and also an Inter-Ministerial Committee appointed by cabinet to arrive at a decision that would be best for the students across the country.

On Monday 8th June 2020, the date decided upon was shared with the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) and the concerns noted. Cabinet decided that in the best interest of all, the examinations will be held on the proposed August date. Noting that teachers would be on vacation during the months of July and August, the government decided on a stipend to be offered to teachers for the time they would be at the nation’s schools until the SEA.

The government saw it as critical to have these specific teachers at school with their classes as it would aide in the psychological and emotional preparedness of students who would have developed specific relationships with these teachers over the average two (2) year period spent together. It is the government’s hope that teachers and principals understand how crucial their support is at this time and return to schools on July 20th 2020 to ensure the students under their charge are fully prepared. The Ministry of Education and all required agencies will each do what is needed to have the infrastructural, sanitary, health and safety needs met before school personnel return to the compounds.

In the fight against COVID-19 Trinidad and Tobago has shown resilience and duty to country to get to this point. It is now imperative among all citizens and stakeholders that the right to quality, equitable and accessible education is not denied to any student because of an inability to put this nation’s children first.

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