“The Ministry of Education’s rollout of this year’s Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) is a case of them hoping for the best, but unprepared for the worst.”

That is the assessment of Bradon Roberts, Tobago representative for the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA), as he responded to confirmation by the Ministry that the SEA will be administered on July 1st, even as it set guidelines for how students will checked and monitored throughout the three-hour exam.

“We all know about the proverb where ‘we will hope for the best, but we prepare for the worst’.  Well, I am not seeing that preparing for the worst part of it.  I do not believe that one doctor and two nurses per district is really preparing for the worst,” Bradon Roberts told CNC3’s The Morning Brew.

“What is really in place should there be any type of scare in any of the schools?” he asked.

Bradon Roberts also took issue with the Education Ministry holding its press conference before they met with TTUTA. The ministry chose to hold its media briefing on the SEA on Tuesday June 23rd, even though it is scheduled to meet with the union on Thursday June 24th.

He says there remain many pressing issues to be discussed and many factors impacting students’ performance are still being overlooked.

“Mental health issues have not been taken up seriously as is needed,” he argues. 

“Yes, we have guidance officers who are doing as much as they can do with their outreach. But there are a lot of students who are not even coming out with the initial problem—that they are struggling—so there are persons who have not been reached at all,” he added.