With teachers fully returned to the classroom for a second week now, a parent and her son are hoping the Ministry of Education will revisit its position on the cancellation of this term’s Junior Science Quiz.
In an April 18 memo to secondary-school principals and trainers of the Quiz teams, the Education Broadcasting Unit advised that the competition was being cancelled. The reason cited was “the prolonged industrial action of public school teachers.”
While expressing its regrets for the decision, the Unit encouraged the schools and trainers to “continue engaging your students to ‘Get up close to Science.”
The explanation does not satisfy the disappointed parent, however, who says her teenager was crushed to learn the Quiz would not be held. She recounts the months of preparation for the event, and the anticipation of the children and their teachers, who all were looking forward to displaying their knowledge.
“You want to tell me that, with weeks to go in this term, the Ministry of Education couldn’t have rescheduled the Science Quiz?” the mother asks. “This is how they hype up the children, get them to undertake all this preparation, and then cancel? Just so?”
She says her child’s team has been studying and practicing since last September. “Do they not feel for these children who have sacrificed and put in extra hours – even on weekends” and during the Christmas and Easter holidays?’” she asks.
She notes that there is already a sponsor – the Social Security Board – in place. Therefore, she reasons, the reason for cancelling the contest at the 11th hour – the day before the Opening Ceremony –could not be financial.
And since the other resources for hosting the series – human and technical – are controlled by the Ministry, she believes that rescheduling is well within its discretion, particularly since the competition had been rescheduled twice already, reportedly “because the Ministry didn’t seem organized.”
Further, the irate mother says, the students who have been disenfranchised by the cancellation will not get the chance to compete next year, since the Junior Science Quiz is open only to Third Formers.
Therefore, she is appealing to Director of Education Clare Browne and Education Officer responsible for the Sciences to reconsider the Ministry’s decision.
“After all that preparation, it’s only fair that the kids get the opportunity to perform,” she says. “This was supposed to be their moment to shine. Don’t take it away from them.”