The move by the Education Ministry to have students sitting the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) to write their names on their examination papers this year has been deemed as “thoughtless” at best, and at worst, a “sinister” act.
This is according to former Education Minister, Priya Manickchand, who at a press briefing today stated that this decision can have more negative effects than positive ones and can affect the integrity of the examination system which Guyana has spent decades to build.
The new layout which mandates that each student sitting the NGSA write their names on their examination papers has caused much discomfort and unease among parents throughout the country since it was announced.
In less than two weeks, approximately 14,500 candidates are slated to sit the NGSA examinations, commonly called the “Common Entrance” exams.
Manickchand explained that she had written both the Education Minister and the Chief Education Officer about the change being made to the process of writing the examinations.
According to her, she was notified that Paper One of each examination will be marked electronically outside of the country, and while this may be acceptable the major concern lies with the Education Ministry’s response that Paper Two is to be marked locally and can allow for unfairness and discrimination to affect the system.
The former education minister noted that she cannot comprehend what value can be obtained by having a child write his/her name on the examination Papers.
Meanwhile, the Education Ministry today stated that each candidate is required to write/sign his or her name as a mechanism to ensure that the candidate for whom the paper was prepared is actually the one who answered the questions.
In a media statement this afternoon, the Ministry noted that this will have no implications for marking because these answer sheets will all be marked electronically.
“As it relates to paper two, the cover page of the answer sheet is bifurcated and perforated. The Test Code, Subject, and Candidate Number are required on both sides. The Test Code and Subject will already be printed while candidates will be required to write in their Candidate Number—this information is provided for them on the timetables given to every candidate,” declared the Education Ministry.
The statement also said that in addition to this, on the right half of the paper only, candidates are required to write in the names of their schools, their full names, date of birth and gender.
“The right side of the sheets are all detached prior to the commencement of the marking of paper two and retained for administrative purposes only. The information that would be evident during the marking process would be the Test Code, Subject, and Candidate Number only. These are administrative mechanisms which will have no bearing on the marking process whatsoever,” the Ministry added.