– Education Ministry to prepare exam instead of Nursing Council
Student nurses who participated in the 2016 Professional Nurses State Final Examination last year will two weeks from today, on February 21, be required to re-sit Paper One of the examination.
This development comes on the heels of the allegations that the paper one or multiple choice segment of the examination was leaked.
This disclosure was yesterday made by Senior Minister of Public Health, Ms. Volda Lawrence, during a press conference held in the Boardroom of the Ministry’s Brickdam, Georgetown head office.
According to the Minister, although it is customary for such examinations to be prepared by the Nursing Council, it will instead be done by the Ministry of Education.
In essence “the Ministry of Education will act on behalf of the Ministry of Public Health to engage its personnel to prepare multiple choice questions; to administer those questions [and] to have a group of persons recruited to mark the essay part of those questions,” Minister Lawrence disclosed yesterday.
She however disclosed that the Nursing Council will be required to provide tutoring sessions for the nursing students since “not all of the students who wrote the 2016 examination were able to complete both parts, so it will only be those students who have written the multiple choice aspect of the examinations…”
According to the Minister, based on the numbers from the Nursing Council, approximately 150 students will be required to participate in the examination.
It is expected that the results of the examination will be presented to the Public Health Ministry and the declaration of the results will be done no later than March 2, 2017.
Minister Lawrence at yesterday’s press conference said that upon assuming the office of Public Health Minister, she was visited by some of the nursing students who have been in limbo for several months because of the allegations that the examination was leaked ahead of being administered.
According to the Minister, the students had shared with her their concerns and she was also privy to some documents that were sent to former Minister, Dr. George Norton, regarding the issue.
“I listened to the students and subsequently I met with the Nursing Council and it was at that meeting, having looked at the process in which the preparation for examinations was done, that we agreed that one of the ways to eliminate those issues and the one which was presently on the table that has to do with the 2016 batch, was to seek assistance from the sister Ministry, the Ministry of Education, to solve this matter,” Minister Lawrence disclosed.
Moreover, officials from the Public Health Ministry were in contact with officials from the Ministry of Education, and together agreed on measures to address the situation.
According to Minister Lawrence, she has since met with representatives of the Nursing Council and the students, and they are all in agreement with the outlined method.
The Guyana Nursing Council is responsible for setting the State Final Examination which is taken by students of all of the country’s nursing schools: Georgetown School of Nursing, the Charles Roza School of Nursing, the New Amsterdam School of Nursing and the privately-operated St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.
The State Finals were conducted in October of last year with a total of 250 nursing students participating.
However, soon after the exam word had reached the Public Health Ministry that the examination was leaked before it was conducted thus compromising the process. Ministry officials after conducting an initial investigation found that the situation required intervention from the Police Force.
In fact Dr. Norton had claimed to be privy to information that among those involved in the criminal act, were individuals closely linked to the authority that is responsible for setting the examination.
At a press conference in November last, he had also asserted that thousands of dollars might have been earned from the illegality.
But up to yesterday the police investigation, according to Minister Lawrence, was still incomplete.
“I have been in contact with the police; I do not want to say much about that aspect, but what I can say is that the investigations are continuing,” the Minister assured.
But the former Minister of Public Health (Dr. Norton) had last year divulged that, “my last communication with the police, verbally, is that they are still investigating…actually one person is out of the country at the moment and that might be stymieing the process.”
Based on the response of Minister Lawrence yesterday, that very official continues to stymie the police probe.
But although the process was stalled since last year, Minister Norton had claimed that the investigation had yielded daunting information that suggests that among those involved in the criminal act, are individuals closely linked to the authority that is responsible for setting the examination.
Speaking on behalf of his fellow affected nursing students, some of whom attended yesterday’s press conference, was Vibert Forde a student of the Georgetown School of Nursing. According to Forde, the whole experience has been disturbing to them, but they are appeased by the fact that a resolution has been derived.
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