First half of PSE held across the country

The first half of the Primary School Examination was held today. After years of preparation, students from all over the country sat the English and Science portions of the high school entrance exam. And you’d think nerves were running high today, but the students we spoke to were quite confident about their performance.

Shannia Pech
vlcsnap-2013-03-18-21h19m57s173First I was nervous and scared, but when I got there, I realized I was scared fro nothing because it was actually very easy.

Agatha Petkau
In the beginning I was like Oh my goodness, PSE is tomorrow. But when I got it, I just calmed down because I have done practices and it was just like another exam, just that it’s in a different room with different classmates. But I just think it was much easier than I thought it would be. It went really good

Shadel Young
How did the PSE go?

Andrea Franco
vlcsnap-2013-03-18-21h28m37s199Good, it was easy.

Shadel Young
What subjects were easy?

Mernie Madrid
Science and English.

Shadel Young
How did you guys prepare for the exams in school?

Mernie Madrid
We had evening classes.

Melva Ramirez
We studied a lot of mock exams.

Shadel Young
So nothing about the exam was difficult? It was very very easy?

Mernie Madrid
The multiple choices were kind of hard.

Shadel Young
The multiple choice for which one?

Mernie Madrid
English.

vlcsnap-2013-03-18-21h33m23s16Jada Brown
I was kind of nervous, but after that I started to feel like I was in my own class.

Zaria Obe
I wasn’t nervous.

Finley Skeen
It was kind of easy, but you still feel nervous in the morning.

Shadel Young
How did you prepare for the exams.

Finley Skeen
vlcsnap-2013-03-18-21h35m19s159They gave us four mock PSE’s and they gave us a schedule on Saturday and Sunday not to study too hard, just some on Saturday and relax all day Sunday.

Shadel Young
So now that the exam is over, what are you going to do?

Finley Skeen
Go and relax at home.

This year, the Ministry of education has made provisions for students with special needs to take the examinations.
vlcsnap-2013-03-18-20h06m08s138One of those students is Janae Matute. Janae was born with Cerebal Palsy – a motor condition that causes physical disability in human development. When Janae was born, doctors did not give encouraging prognosis to her mother. But twelve years later, little Janae sat in an examination room to take the same exam as her peers. She was given extra time to complete her exam, so while our News team was waiting for her, Stephan Gordon, a student with special needs, bravely stepped up to us and said he wanted to share about how the exams went. Here’s what Stephan had to say about today.

Shadel Young – Plus TV Reporter:

Alright Stephan, how were the exams?

vlcsnap-2013-03-18-21h38m25s224Stephan Gordon
Good.

Both of them were easy?

Stephan Gordon
Yes.

And was studying for it easy?

Stephan Gordon
Yes.

So you think you did good?

Stephan Gordon
Yeah.

Janae completed her exams shortly after and we caught up with her. After thanking her mother and her teachers, she says she just wants to go take a swim now.

Shadel Young – Plus TV Reporter:
vlcsnap-2013-03-18-21h44m52s11And so now that the exam is finished, what do you want to go do?

Janae Matute
Finish high school.

And how about when you leave from here right now, where do you want to go?

Janae Matute
Creek.

We also spoke with Janae’s mother’s who gushed over her daughter’s momentous milestone.

Shadel Young – Plus TV Reporter:
Ms. Matute, how did Janae prepare for the exams?

Georgia Matute
vlcsnap-2013-03-18-21h48m00s105Well, Janae spent a lot of time working after class. Actually, I prepared her most of the time at home. She did a little evening class and stuff, but majority of the time I would take her home and I would be the one doing the classes with her. Also, last week, I removed her from the class and I taught her completely for that week, the entire day. One of the reasons I gave you the opportunity to enter the classroom, is that I am willing to sue my daughter to make it easier for the other kids that come along. I want to say to the other parents who have children with special needs – don’t be afraid to take on the challenge. It is a wonderful challenge and even this morning, I was so excited about the goodness of God in Janae’s life. I keep saying about the goodness of God, because like I keep saying, the doctors have said that Janae would have never been able to go to school, Janae would have never been able to talk, but Janae is a miracle. So this morning, I was really in tears when I think about the goodness of God in Janae’s life and so I want to encourage other parents, don’t be afraid, take on the challenge and you will see how God will meet you where you are. He said what he has started, he is faithful to complete. Like I told Janae this morning – God is faithful to completely what he has started in your life.

Glennis Williams, a Social Studies teacher at the Comprehensive High School was inside the examination room with Janae; overseen by an invigilator, she aided Janae, reading the exam questions to her and writing down Janae’s answers. Prior to the exam, Williams underwent her own preparation and worked at developing a relationship with Janae.

Shadel Young – Plus TV Reporter:
How was the exam just now with Janae?

Glennis Williams
vlcsnap-2013-03-18-21h50m10s116Oh, exciting, difficult. I became overwhelmed at the end. The exam was very tedious and long and there were many times – it is the first time for me dealing with a special needs child. I had to go through some practices and reading and things like that. There were times during the exam where she was telling you that she is tired, but she is a vibrant person. She was like – I can’t stop, I must go on. When we were telling her, if you want to stop, you can stop, but she was too determined and just now at the end, at the nick of time, she finished the last one and she burst out and the action was – I did it, I did it, I did it. It was an accomplishment greater than anything you can imagine. She was more determined, because I was telling her go slow and she was like – No. We had a clock that faced her and she was able to see the time and she was making sure that she could beat the time. So in itself, it was an accomplishment.

And while the Ministry Of Education did offer provision for special needs students, including providing Janae with a scribe and a reader, Williams and Janae’s mom say there are still additional suggestions that the Ministry may reconsider.

Georgia Matute
I know that Janae is doing a great job with these exams right now. I still believe that the Ministry of Education and the Government of Belize should consider making these exams a little bit more to the needs of the children with special needs. Janae has to do the same fifty questions like the other kids would have to do and I just believe that they should fix it up a little bit to suit the needs of these special children. Maybe Janae will not benefit from it this trip, but special needs children in the future, I am hoping and I am praying that they will benefit from what I am saying today.

Glennis Williams
Really, on a person with special needs, it is too long. The structuring for special needs children where mainly they are able to see things and maybe point out will help them or maybe the way that they do it – maybe one day with English and the next day with another subject, because at the end of the day, she was very tired.

But it wasn’t only Standard Six students who sat the exams today, but also a group of adults. These persons took the first half of the PSE today, after spending three years in non-formal classes.

William Vellarous
vlcsnap-2013-03-18-21h56m36s116I am very happy to be here with this team. We all worked well together in the same company and we are very happy to be here in this adult team. Our teacher’s name is Ms. Diego and she was teaching us for a good time now. We reach this point now where we have the PSE exams and we all feel very good.

 

Elizabeth Socul
When it started, I felt nervous, but as the day was going, I was feeling much better.

Shadel Young – Plus TV Reporter:
How did the PSE exams go today?

Rosa Oh
It was good. It the morning I was kind of nervous and I felt like I couldn’t make it and it was kind of difficult, but I made up my mind that I will do it. For the rest of the day, I felt good and happy with the rest.

Elsa Ramirez
It was good, but the morning I felt very nervous. I had a headache, but now I am feeling well.

Aroldo Lopez
With the help of Ms. Judith – she helped us a lot and she had a lot of patience with us. We tried our best.

Their teacher, educator Judith Diego, told us what the preparations for the exams were like.

Judith Diego – Educator:
The team is from BNE yes and I have been working with these adults for three years.

Shadel Young – Plus TV Reporter:
How was preparing for the exams?

Judith Diego – Educator:
vlcsnap-2013-03-18-22h02m50s44It was time consuming and it was also a very challenging task, because when we look at the background of the adults, they had fallen through the cracks in primary school at a very early age. So I had to nurture them through all the fundamentals before we got here. It was challenging for me because I saw them only once a week on Saturdays, from 8 – 12. Another challenge for me was find which made my work very easy – I had to look for strategies to help them to grasp the concepts quickly. So what I did was to use a lot of real life situations, because they have the experience.

Part 2 of the examination takes place on May 6, and will feature both Math papers and Social Studies.

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