Guyanese boy to be al­lowed to sit TT sec­ondary en­trance exam

Stabroek News Sunday - - REGIONAL NEWS -

The 11-year-old Guyanese boy who was be­ing pre­vented from writ­ing the Sec­ondary En­trance As­sess­ment (SEA) ex­am­i­na­tion by the Trinidad and Tobago (TT) Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion be­cause he did not have a stu­dent per­mit will now be al­lowed to do so.

One of the at­tor­neys rep­re­sent­ing the boy’s par­ents, Stephan Ramkissoon, who wrote to the min­istry re­quest­ing that he be al­lowed to sit the exam, was on Fri­day in­formed in a let­ter by act­ing Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary Lenor Bap­tiste-Sim­mons that the boy will be al­lowed to sit the exam.

In the let­ter, Bap­tiste-Sim­mons re­vealed that other stu­dents, who were in a sim­i­lar predica­ment, will also be al­lowed to write the exam.

Ramkissoon told Sun­day Stabroek that he was not aware that other for­eign stu­dents were be­ing de­nied the right to write the exam un­til he saw the min­istry’s re­sponse.

How­ever, Bap­tiste-Sim­mons said, “The stu­dents’ ad­mis­sion to a sec­ondary school is con­tin­gent upon pro­duc­tion of the valid stu­dent per­mit as re­quired un­der Reg­u­la­tion 9 of the Im­mi­gra­tion Reg­u­la­tions made un­der the im­mi­gra­tion Act.”

In his let­ter to TT Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter An­thony Gar­cia, Ramkissoon asked for the child to be im­me­di­ately re­turned to his reg­u­lar Stan­dard Five class and al­lowed to take the exam. The child was de­moted to Stan­dard Four last month at the school he at­tends in Cara­pichaima and was told he would not be able to write the exam.

Ramkissoon said that the child at­tended school in Trinidad for seven years, but was only re­cently told be­cause he is not a cit­i­zen and does not have a stu­dent per­mit, he could not write the exam.

He told the min­is­ter that the child had al­ready made his school choices and had been “study­ing and work­ing with great ef­fort to­wards suc­ceed­ing at the SEA ex­ams.”

The par­ents were told by the school that it was act­ing on the di­rec­tion of the min­istry, in ac­cor­dance with a newly im­ple­mented pol­icy.

In the let­ter to the min­istry, Ramkissoon quoted from the Equal Op­por­tu­nity Act, the Ed­u­ca­tion Act, the Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child and the Re­vised Treaty of Ch­aguara­mas to make the claim that the child was be­ing pre­vented from fur­ther pur­su­ing his ed­u­ca­tion and was be­ing dis­crim­i­nated against.

The let­ter said the child’s sib­lings also at­tended the school and suc­cess­fully sat the exam in 2014 and 2017 and that the child had a le­git­i­mate ex­pec­ta­tion that he too would be al­lowed to write the exam.

The min­is­ter was given un­til April 16th, when the new school term opens, to give in­struc­tions to have the boy re­turned to Stan­dard Four, and be al­lowed to write the exam.

The lawyers said that if they had re­ceived no re­sponse by last Fri­day, they would have asked the court for an in­junc­tion to force the min­istry to per­mit him to sit the test.

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