Gadsby-Dolly: Goverment addressing SEA underperformance

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly –

EDUCATION Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said the Government is addressing concerns about the underperformance of students in the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam.

She made these comments in response to a matter raised by Independent Senator Dr Paul Richards on the adjournment of the Senate on Tuesday.

Gadsby-Dolly said these concerns existed before the covid19 pandemic, and the pandemic made them worse.

“We have had many national discussions on this issue.”

She said it speaks to a deeper issue in the primary school system. Gadsby-Dolly added this involved a fundamental lack of literacy and numeracy skills amongst some children.

She told senators that standard one students who were performing above 50 per cent in English and maths were showing declining scores by the time they reached standard three.

“It means the issue is not even the SEA. The issue is further down in the primary level, somewhere between standards one and three.”

Against that background, Gadsby-Dolly said there should be no surprise that the problem occurs at the SEA level.

She added, “If the foundation is unsure, then certainly the result cannot be what we expect.”

Gadsby-Dolly identified teaching and learning and parental involvement as some of the reasons for this underperformance, and said the solution must be multi-pronged.

Gadsby-Dolly added that the vacation remedial programme which started last year is one strategy being used to address it.

“We have extended that programme and we now have approval for that programme to run for the next three years.”