Top SEA Student from Rousillac Presbyterian 

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

KIRSTEN RAMSARAN, of the Rousillac Presbyterian Primary School, is the top  Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) pupil for 2021.

After a long year of online learning, Standard Five pupils were most excited to finally receive their Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) results on Thursday.

Some 19,544 pupils wrote the exam that was postponed three times due to the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic. This figure was 343 more than those who wrote in 2020. The exam  was eventually held on July 1.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Education awarded the top SEA pupils in a brief ceremony at the Ministry’s headquarters in Port-of-Spain.

Pestex 12

The top three places were dominated by females.

Ramsaran from was named the top SEA pupil 2021 while Vineetha Kattamanchi of Maria Regina Grade School placed second and five pupils vied for third place.

These included: Anya Sybella-Ali of the Specialist Learning Centre, Raveena Basdeo of Montrose Government, Sy’rai Joseph of Arima Girls’ Government, Aishani Ramsewak of St George East Private Candidate and Isharra Sookdeo of Clarke Rochard Government.

Awards were also given for top special pupils and top pupils in educational districts.

The awards were sponsored by bmobile and awardees were given internet broadband packages and tablets.

Pupils were assigned to secondary schools based on the established placement policy, which comprised six criteria: order of merit, choice of school, gender, principals’ 20% selection, residence and multiple birth.

Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly congratulated all winners and all pupils who finally had their results in hand.

She admitted that it was not easy for neither the ministry nor teachers, parents and pupils and encouraged those eligible for the Pfizer vaccine to accept it as no in-person classes were having a negative effect on the learning process.


Gadsby-Dolly said this year there was a decrease in performance in all subject areas of the SEA despite accommodations to make the transition examination easier.

In Mathematics, there was a decrease of 6%, English Language, 4.1% and Creative Writing, there was a decrease of 0.8%, Dr Gadsby-Dolly said.

She also revealed, 1.4% more students scored over 90% than in 2020, while 6.7% more pupils scored under 30% than last year, noting that more pupils wrote last year’s exam than this year.

The minister said more assessments will be conducted to determine the impact of Covid-19 on learning.

She said, “Though further analysis will be done into the distribution of scores and the performance of students, as is customary, the effect of student absence from the physical classroom over the past 18 months cannot be ignored as a contributing factor to a decline in performance, notwithstanding the mitigation efforts of parents, teachers, administrators, corporate T&T and the Ministry of Education.

“The continued absence from the physical classroom, as predicted, will contribute to a reduction in average student performance as well as a widening of the achievement gap; and not only for SEA 2021- this is part of the global Learning Loss phenomenon which has been spoken of widely.”

Quoting from the United Nations (UN), Dr Gadsby-Dolly said, “Closing schools mortgages our future- we can reopen schools safely, and we must.”

The main defence in enhancing the learning process was the physical re-opening of school she said.

The minister listed the measures already undertaken by the ministry to assist with on-line learning which included the distribution of 6,500 devices for teachers to use, training for teachers, reducing the number of test items on the exam paper, the procurement of 20,000 devices for pupils, installing wifi for  55 primary and 134 secondary schools in rural areas – a project that is ongoing and emotional and social support for pupils.

She added that by next week, some 10,000 mifi devices are also expected to be distributed.

As part of the strategies to mitigate against learning loss, in January 2021, an EOI for an Online Literacy and Numeracy Solution was sent out by the Ministry of Education, which yielded 18 and 20 responses respectively. The Requests for Tenders which was subsequently sent out closed on August 20 , and yielded 10 and seven responses respectively. These were currently being evaluated she said.

She thanked all those who worked to ensure that the SEA exam was written this year including ministerial staff, teachers, parents and all who supported.

Minister in the Ministry of Education Lisa Morris-Julien also spoke.

She told attendees, “We want to return to normalcy. We want to see your laughing faces in class once more.”

Representatives from sponsor bmobile were also present at the event.

The ministry stated that pupils who were born after August 31, 2008 (less than 13 years) and whose average score was 30% or less but who had not previously sat the SEA will be required to repeat the year and re-sit the SEA in 2022.

Those who attained a composite weighted standard score of 30% or below, and who were born before August 31, 2008 or who were doing the assessment for a second time were placed in a secondary school based on choice of school or residence.

Other SEA awardees were:

  • Tyler Ramroop-El Dorado North Hindu – Top Male who also placed eighth overall;
  • Aisha Lewis-Audrey Jeffers School for the Deaf Student with Special Needs;
  • Curlan Highley-Cascade School for the Deaf Student with Special Needs;
  • Leanna James-Valencia Government, High Scoring student from a School with Improved Academic Performance;
  • Kahyin Young-Arouca Government, High Scoring student from a School with Improved Academic Performance;
  • Khalil David-Pt Fortin AC, High Scoring student from a School with Improved Academic Performance;
  • Tristan Craig-Rosary Boys’ RC, High Scoring student from a School with Improved Academic Performance;
  • Shemar Bowman-Waterloo Presbyterian, High Scoring student from a School with Improved Academic Performance;
  • Reese Charles-Robert Village Hindu, High Scoring student from a School with Improved Academic Performance; and
  • Melicka Redhead-Marabella Government, High Scoring student from a School with Improved Academic Performance


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