A total of 15,268 pupils are registered to write the 2023 National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) on Wednesday and Thursday and the Ministry of Education is rolling out several measures to support them.
Education Minister Priya Manickchand on Tuesday told the News Room that her Ministry is prepared to hold the assessment which determines secondary school placements.
Manickchand said there are 512 examination centres spread across the country and they are all staffed with invigilators. As such, children in remote or far-flung areas no longer need to travel far distances on assessment days.
This year, for the first time, the assessment papers have been translated into Spanish to help Spanish-speaking pupils, many of whom are migrants, better understand the assessment.
Children also have more time – an hour and 10 minutes – to complete each assessment. The four areas to be tested, as usual, are Mathematics, Science, English and Social Studies.
And building on recent efforts to provide breakfast to all Grade Six pupils, those children will get breakfast before they head into the examination rooms.
Minister Manickchand said these measures are among those instituted to help children especially since these learners have been badly affected by challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Previously, textbooks and online educational resources were provided to mitigate any learning disruptions. These continue and Manickchand believes teachers and pupils are well-supported.
But even with these support measures, the Education Ministry is wary of possible absentees on the assessment days.
Two mock examinations conducted ahead of this year’s NGSA show that some children have been absent from school, a trend not unlike pre-COVID times, according to Manickchand. Still, the Ministry has been relying on its welfare officers and partners to help bring children back into schools.
“We have been finding children and bringing them back in,” Manickchand emphasised.
An official report provided after the 2023 NGSA will indicate how many children, if any, were absent from the two-day assessment.
Meanwhile, the Education Minister said the results of the assessment are slated to be released on or before July 11, 2023. This is expected to allow children to start their secondary school classes when the academic year commences in September.