Union awaiting meeting on 11-Plus

The Barbados Union Of Teachers (BUT) is awaiting a meeting with the Ministry of Education and other education stakeholders to discuss the future of the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination.

General secretary Herbert Gittens said there have been no talks with the union on the exam, also referred to as the Common Entrance or 11-Plus, despite word that it is slated for July 5.

Last Friday night, a well-informed source close to the ministry said that date was decided on following a meeting with education officials and Class 4 teachers earlier in the day.

Gittens said: “The union has not had any discussions as it relates to the date of the exam so any date that is circulating right now has not been discussed with the union. The date may have been said in other forums but nothing has officially been said to the BUT about the date of the exam.”

He added the union also wanted to know more about the Government’s plan to scrap the 11-Plus, as stated in the speech by President The Most Honourable Dame Sandra Mason at the official opening of Parliament earlier this month.

“We have also heard that this year would be the last year for the Common Entrance Exam and I remembered the previous minister stating that there was a move towards using another system, regarding scrapping the exam.

“To date the BUT has not been in any discussions with the ministry as to the exact date to the scrapping or what the new system would be. There was some talk of middle schools and schools of excellence, but I am not sure exactly what transfer system or the system of allocation would be, even if they move to that aspect of it. That still has to be discussed with the stakeholders.”

Gittens, who is also a primary school principal, added: “At some point it would only be fitting for the ministry to have the discussion with the stakeholders, including the BUT, so we can have our input [and] also to hear the plans going forward for the exams and move to transition students to middle schools and schools of excellence.”

Last year the Common Entrance was shifted from June 22 to July 28, where 3 401 students wrote the mathematics and English papers.

The ministry is engaged in a revamp of the way exams are being delivered at the primary school level, headed by Director of Education Reform Dr Idamay Denny. (SB)

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