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McIntosh: Too much pace with new SEA curriculum
Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh said yesterday the Government was moving ahead with the scheduled implementation of an expanded Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) curriculum. The expanded curriculum will include subjects, such as visual and performing arts, physical education, citizen and character development, values in education and moral education.
Gopeesingh spoke in a telephone interview in response to concerns raised by Opposition MP Patricia McIntosh, a former school principal, on the plan which will be implemented in September. McIntosh told reporters at a news conference at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, Charles Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, while the PNM supported the proposal, its implementation should be delayed and introduced as a pilot project.
Under the new system, 40 per cent of the SEA pupils’ exam marks will be given for those initiatives while 60 per cent will be for the traditional exam. McIntosh said while the move was a good one, she was very concerned about the move to implement it in a few months. She said the schools were not ready and would not be ready by next year, when the first primary school pupils were expected to sit the exam.
McIntosh said teachers, pupils and parents were stressed out by the rush to implement the new curriculum this year. “The PNM’s concern is with the indecent haste in which this very critical change is being implemented,” she said. “It seems like this minister (Gopeesingh) likes to implement post-haste without thinking through these programmes,” she added.
She said Gopeesingh was using political expediency to implement the measure. But Gopeesingh did not share her view. He said yesterday: “There is no politics when it comes to the education of the nation’s children.” He said the Government was moving ahead with the initiative because 80 per cent of stakeholders, including the T&T Unified Teachers’ Association, have supported the measure and have indicated it should be implemented at the earliest possible opportunity.
Gopeesingh said the new subjects had been in the curriculum but were not being assessed. He said the physical infrastructure was being put in place and teachers were being retrained to ensure a smooth implementation of the initiative. The minister said the new system would lead to a societal transformation in the coming years.
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