Despite Illness Jquani is ready for GSAT

Photo: Contributed Eleven-year-old Santa Cruz Primary and Junior High School student, Jquani Chung, will be sitting the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) in a hospital on March 22 and 23.

Story Highlights

  • When the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) starts tomorrow (March 22), 11-year- old Jquani Chung, who is a patient at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, will be among the thousands of students sitting the all-important secondary school placement examination.
  • Jquani is hopeful that she will earn a place at the all-girl boarding institution, the Hampton School, which she describes as the “best school in St. Elizabeth”.
  • Jquani is among seven students in hospital who will be taking GSAT. Three of these students, from the parishes of St. Catherine, St. Elizabeth and Kingston, are at the Bustamante Hospital.

When the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) starts tomorrow (March 22), 11-year- old Jquani Chung, who is a patient at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, will be among the thousands of students sitting the all-important secondary school placement examination.

The student of Santa Cruz Primary and Junior High in St. Elizabeth tells JIS News that she has been studying daily despite not being in the usual settings of her home or school, and is looking forward to sitting her favourite subject, mathematics.

Jquani is hopeful that she will earn a place at the all-girl boarding institution, the Hampton School, which she describes as the “best school in St. Elizabeth”.

Jquani is among seven students in hospital who will be taking GSAT. Three of these students, from the parishes of St. Catherine, St. Elizabeth and Kingston, are at the Bustamante Hospital.

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information assigned teacher, Ann Marie Thomas, to prepare them to sit the two-day test in Communication Task, Social Studies, Science, Mathematics and English.

Ms. Thomas tells JIS News that she has been instructing students admitted to the hospital since January. “Any topics that the students have a problem with, I teach them,” she notes.

She says she tries to make the lessons as “fun as possible” in order to ensure that each topic is properly grasped by the students as they face the dual challenge of recovery and preparing for the national examination.

She tells JIS News that the preparations are sometimes challenging for the ill students.

Ms. Thomas says she often gives Jquani “a touch and some words of encouragement so that she will be able to work through the lessons and do the exam”.

“Sometimes I also type, break down the work and print it and ask her mother to read it while she sits at (Jquani’s) bedside,” she adds.

Jquani’s dedicated mother, Amy Casanova, also ensures her daughter is ready for the exam by reading lessons to her and giving her words of encouragement.

“She is encouraged. She tells me that she is going to do her best. She is quite aware that she will not be ill forever and she is looking forward to high school,” she says. Patient Affairs Manager at Bustamante, Jacqueline Ellis, says the hospital, which accommodates patients sitting the GSAT examinations each year, is committed to ensuring that no student is left behind.

The Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says the State is ready to accommodate the 39,093 students registered to sit GSAT.

In addition to the seven hospitalised students, one youngster in a juvenile facility will sit the test, while six foreign language students will take the examinations with assistance from interpreters in Mandarin, Spanish and Dutch.

The Ministry has also made accommodation for 315 special needs students, who have submitted psychological evaluation reports, and they have been assessed by the Special Education Unit.

JIS Social