The Ministry of National Education, Technological and Vocational Training is reforming its data collection policy, following public outrage over a survey released to lower secondary school students.
Director of Education Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw formally apologized on Thursday afternoon for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-facilitated investigation of code.org that asked children “invasive” questions 11 years old.
“The Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training wholeheartedly accepts that in the final analysis it must take responsibility for the unfortunate exposure of some of our high school students to issues that have offended them, their parents and others in our education system,” says Dr. Archer-Bradshaw.
She acknowledged the department had been negligent, admitting it should have reviewed the final draft before administration.
“Obviously what happened left us in no doubt that we took too much for granted by not checking the final investigation,” the education director remarked. She added that “offensive scripts” will be destroyed and there will be “no further use of the survey without an explicit and full review”.
According to the head of education, the administration of the survey, which was supposed to be a pre-test on computer science, was immediately stopped. The survey was to be administered in five secondary schools.
Dr Archer-Bradshaw also revealed that the department was reforming its school data collection policy to ‘ensure that incidents like this never happen again’.
The IDB has publicly acknowledged that the Ministry of Education raised concerns about questionable questions in the survey, but that they were “inadvertently left in the document”.
Supporting the IDB’s statement, the director of education added that the ministry had expressed “serious concerns” about the length of the survey and its content and that it had been agreed that changes should be made. .
In order to respond to the reaction from parents and teachers’ unions, the department will today engage in discussions with the principals of the participating secondary schools and the parents of first-year pupils.
“Rest assured that this ministry will take all necessary steps to protect our children,” said Dr Archer-Bradshaw.