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