THA boss clears air on Tobago’s SEA results

Chief Sec­re­tary of the To­ba­go House of As­sem­bly (THA) Kelvin Charles has cleared the air on state­ments he made con­cern­ing To­ba­go’s 2019 Sec­ondary En­trance As­sess­ment (SEA) re­sults.

On June 28, when the re­sults were re­leased, Charles said To­ba­go’s stu­dents’ per­for­mances were “his­toric” as three were among the na­tion’s top 200.

His state­ments were met with scep­ti­cism and per­sons cit­ed re­cent per­for­mances of stu­dents which placed them among the na­tion’s top 200.

Speak­ing at the post-Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil me­dia brief­ing on Wednes­day at the Di­vi­sion of Tourism, Cul­ture and Trans­porta­tion’s Con­fer­ence Room, Sang­ster’s Hill, Scar­bor­ough, Charles said his state­ments were mis­un­der­stood.

“I made the re­marks that...we have cre­at­ed his­to­ry in To­ba­go, in that, it is the first time we have been able to se­cure three places in the top 200,” Charles said.

Adding, “I nev­er did say, nor did I in­tend to have it in­ter­pret­ed, that it was the first time we were hav­ing some­one in the top 200.”

He not­ed that the is­land’s top per­former Se­bas­t­ian Ram­per­sad of the Buc­coo Gov­ern­ment Pri­ma­ry School was 18th, na­tion­al­ly and Daniel­la Tay­lor of the Bethes­da Gov­ern­ment Pri­ma­ry School, who placed sec­ond in To­ba­go, was 68th, na­tion­al­ly.

Charles, who is al­so Sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion, said To­ba­go’s third-placed stu­dent Archelle’ Melville of the Sig­nal Hill Gov­ern­ment, placed 103rd, na­tion­al­ly.

Clar­i­fy­ing his state­ment fur­ther, Charles gave sta­tis­tics show­ing that stu­dents con­sis­tent­ly placed in the na­tion’s top 350 since 2006. He did not have the sta­tis­tics be­fore 2005, he said.

“In 2006, a stu­dent from the Scar­bor­ough Ro­man Catholic School placed 127th, na­tion­al­ly...in 2007, a stu­dent from the St Nicholas pri­vate Pri­ma­ry school placed 101...in 2012, a stu­dent placed 354 and in 2018,...To­ba­go’s top stu­dent placed 296th, na­tion­al­ly.”

He said To­ba­go’s stu­dents are per­form­ing bet­ter be­cause of ini­tia­tives he im­ple­ment­ed since tak­ing over the ed­u­ca­tion port­fo­lio when he be­came Chief Sec­re­tary in Jan­u­ary 2017.

“There have been some changes and some in­no­va­tions in­to the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem...We changed the sys­tem and there­fore we changed the re­sults,” he said.

Cit­ing the ini­tia­tives, Charles point­ed to “a re­view of the check­list for the su­per­vi­sion of schools...(and) a re­view of the schools’ de­vel­op­ment plans.”

He said the de­vel­op­ment plan has changed from a ‘cut and paste doc­u­ment...to one which eval­u­at­ed a school’s per­for­mance.”

He said the “ex­ten­sive train­ing” giv­en to teach­ers al­so played a role in chang­ing stu­dents’ per­for­mances.

- by Camille Mceachnie

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