Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly

Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly

The Ministry of Education is assuring that denominational school boards will be included in discussions on the way forward for review of the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination and the Concordat.

The ministry gave the assurance following criticism by the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) of the composition of the committee established to make recommendations on the matter.

He said on Wednesday the Authority red-flagged the aircraft that was to be used by the Venezuelan government, informing that it fell into the band of sanctioned aircraft by the US government.

‘Disrespectful’

The committee comprises of education stakeholders, including three representatives from the Inter-religious Organisation (IRO).

However, SDMS general secretary Vijay Maharaj raised concerns that there were no representatives from the SDMS as well as the Roman Catholic board, the Presbyterian board, the ASJA board or the Anglican board on the committee, despite these boards owning some 340 primary schools and 44 colleges across the country.

He said being left out of the committee was “disrespectful”.

In a response yesterday, the ministry said denominational boards are key stakeholders and will “form part of an important sub-group that the substantive committee will engage”.

“Representation is present on the committee from religious bodies and denominational schools, and further clarification and refining of feedback from boards, received during the national consultation of 2020, will be a critical part of the committee’s work, which involves examination of the very agreement by which the boards’ schools are governed,” the ministry stated.

“The Ministry of Education assures the denominational boards of education that this review process will not happen without the direct engagement with and contribution from, all member groups.”

Inaccurate and unfortunate

Additionally, the ministry disputed Maharaj’s claims that denominational schools have been sidelined in the distribution of devices to facilitate online learning amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Maharaj had said only government schools received donations of devices distributed by the ministry.

The ministry said this was an “inaccurate and unfortunate statement” and further advised that some 19,000 devices had been donated to approximately 500 schools and distribution is ongoing.

“Devices have been distributed to both government and denominational schools at both the primary and secondary levels in all education districts,” it stated.

Attempts to contact the various denominational boards for comment yesterday were unsuccessful.

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