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Mother displeased with zoning policy of MOE

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An upset parent has expressed displeasure with the zoning policy practised by the Ministry of Education for students who sat the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA).

The mother, who asked not to be identified, visited SEARCHLIGHT this week to share her grievances and to speak out on a matter that she said was the same for many parents in St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

“To me, I think whatever school the children pass to go, they deserve to go to that school and I don’t think they should be talking about zoning the children….”

She said she thinks it is unfair that a child who lives in Kingstown, but did not do well in the exam, would be placed at a Kingstown school, but a child who did better in the exam, who lives in an area like Belair, would have to go to a school in that area.

The Belair resident disclosed that her son sat the CPEA this year and placed over 300 for boys and over 700 overall. She stated that the Ministry of Education placed him at the Emmanuel High School Mesopotamia.

She told SEARCHLIGHT that she was not happy or satisfied with the Ministry’s decision and expressed the thought that her son should have at least been able to attend the St Martin’s Secondary School or Bishop’s College Kingstown.

Additionally, the mother said that her older son also had a similar grade and was placed at West St George Secondary School some years ago.

“I think he deserves to go to a better school than that, because for me, sending him up there, they talking about zoning the children and sending him up there, it doesn’t serve a purpose for me, because is more money. Which and while he could have come to a town school and I just pay $2, he have to pay $4 to go up there (Mesopotamia),” she said.

“Other children that come lower than the child going to the best schools and the child who deserve to go are not going there. I find it’s really unfair. The children work very hard in the CPEA and it’s very difficult, the amount of projects and so they have to do.”

When she registered her son for the CPEA, the mother said that her first five choices were: the St Vincent Grammar School, St Martin’s Secondary School, Thomas Saunders Secondary, Bishops College Kingstown and St Joseph’s Convent Marriaqua.

According to this Belair resident, when she visited the Ministry of Education, many parents were there objecting to the placement of their children in particular schools. She also accused the ministry of favouring certain children by putting them into “good schools.”

“When I went to the Ministry, because they say if you not pleased with the school they send your children, you can come in and fill out a form, but they want you to know that all the schools in Kingstown are full. That’s what they said,” she told SEARCHLIGHT.

The Ministry of Education, in a release sent to SEARCHLIGHT following our enquiry on Wednesday, said parents are required to indicate eight to 12 secondary schools that they would like their child to attend. In this selection, only four schools can be chosen from Kingstown, with the remainder being secondary schools in the surrounding area of the student’s address.

“Students who placed within the first 500 students are given the opportunity to choose the secondary school which they would like to attend. The CPEA Database performs the placement based on their choices,” the release stated.

“For those students who placed outside the first 500 students, placement into a secondary school is based on merit and address. Not all schools in Kingstown will be filled from the first 500. For example, St Martin’s Secondary and Bishop’s College Kingstown may not be filled. These schools are filled with students who are living close to them and based on position.”

The release also stated that other students are placed in secondary schools in the vicinity of their home address.

“The Ministry of Education tries its best to place students close to schools in their vicinity, but owing to the number of students which the secondary schools can humanly accept in that area it is not always possible. Private Secondary Schools allocate only a certain number of places to the Ministry of Education to be filled. However, these schools take students privately on their own. The Ministry of Education is not responsible for such,” the release said.

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