National Exams present no real concerns, says Laroda

Pictured from left are Area Vice President of the Bahamas Educational Managerial Union (BEMU) Frazette Gibson and Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) Area Vice President for Grand Bahama Quinton Laroda. (PHOTOS: TFN FILES)

Day three (Wednesday, September 16) into the national examinations – Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) and Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) – in Grand Bahama went well.

Administrators, teachers and students are showing up and invigilators are in place, despite being advised by Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) president, Belinda Wilson, to “call in late.”

In a voice note, reported from Wilson to teachers: “We would like for you to call in that you will be late. So, you can call your school; you will inform them that you will be late. Please make the call by 9:30 a.m.”

That did not happen in Grand Bahama, by 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday (September 14) at St. George’s High School when this daily’s team visited, teachers were in place; some attending a seminar on school property; while others were assisting with exams in the school’s gymnasium.

BUT’s Area Vice President for Grand Bahama Quinton Laroda said that there were no “real concerns” or complaints regarding the examinations from teachers.

“I guess the teachers realized this is an opportunity for the students to complete their schooling at the high school level by ending it with the exams,” he said.

He noted that one or two persons were concerned about invigilation (supervision at the exams), but said he was of the view that they had been accommodated by the school administration. 

“So, I think it is progressing well, as far as I understand,” he stated.

Area Vice President of the Bahamas Educational Managerial Union (BEMU) Frazette Gibson commended the teachers for their commitment to the students.

“I know there has been some sort of communication for them to boycott the national exams, but as you can see they are here,” she told this daily on Tuesday.

“The administrators and the teachers are here to administer the exams and so, they are to be commended because they are going against their union, and they are showing up every day in support of these students who are our future leaders.

“This would be our largest exam – English and Math. Approximately 212 students are taking these exams, which are needed for tertiary education. Some employers also request these exams.

"If they are able to sit and pass the exams, students will have the requirements to attain employment,” she added.

“And so, I am happy the administrators and teachers came out. The administrators are always on the ball, doing what they need to do, in order that these schools run smoothly and efficiently,” Gibson further stated.

Principal of St. George’s High School Shannon Rolle noted that the exams, which began on Monday, September 14, are going well.

“The students have come in. They are all wearing masks. They are observing the social/physical distance protocol. We have our hand sanitizing stations; we are checking their temperatures; the seating is appropriately distanced; and things are going smoothly,” said Rolle.

She added that the exams started on time and officials from the Ministry of Education have been visiting to ensure that safety measures are followed as it relates to the COVID-19 protocols.

“With the Ministry of Education, one of their things is safety first in education always, and they have done a good job in ensuring that the schools in Grand Bahama are properly outfitted with the required equipment,” said Rolle, who will be starting as the school’s new principal, come October 5, when the institution opens for the fall semester.

“As the new principal coming into the school for the fall semester, I am excited. I believe that the staff are all ready and equipped.

“The teachers would have attended their virtual conference last year that was held with the Department of Education.

“We are doing additional training with them this week, up until the start of the new school year. Even during and after that time we will be having the necessary training that they need, in order to facilitate the type of session that is required,” Rolle shared.

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