Some 700 pupils absent from second Grade Six mock exam

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Pupils across the country have been preparing for the upcoming National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) but some 700 pupils were absent from the second ‘mock examination’ held in May, Education Minister Priya Manickchand said.

Ahead of the annual NGSA, which will be held on July 6 and 7, the Ministry of Education has organised two mock examinations to help teachers assess children’s readiness.

Manickchand, at the sidelines of an event on Wednesday, related that more than 700 children were absent from the second preparatory examination which was held on May 11 and 12.

“But it is not very different from pre-COVID numbers,” the Education Minister added, noting that the attendance rate recorded since schools have reopened is about 86 per cent.

She, however, noted that this was a sizable reduction from the number of children absent during the first examination.

Minister of Education Priya Manickchand

After the first preparatory examination, which was held in February, the ministry reported that there were some 1,300 pupils absent.

This prompted the launch of a new programme known as ‘Operation Recovery’ where the education ministry and stakeholders have been attempting to help return children to schools.

Manickchand told reporters that this programme will be intensified from September, when faith-based and non-governmental organsiations will assist the ministry in getting children back into schools.

Based on reports globally, the COVID-19 pandemic and the protracted closure of schools have resulted in learning losses including school dropouts. A recent World Bank report stated that the lower-than-optimal levels of educational engagement suggest “severe learning losses and an increase in drop-out rates.”

Further, the report noted that these learning losses and dropout rates have “grave implications” for the accumulation of human capital in countries.

Manickchand noted that the ministry is striving to curtail these losses.

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