(CMC) — The Caribbean Community’s (Caricom) Council of Human and Social Development (COHSOD) has suggested that the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) review recommendations it has put forward to address concerns related to the administration of this year’s exams.
COHSOD met in a special session on Tuesday to examine those concerns, which arose out of recommendations made to CXC at a meeting of the COHSOD in March.
“COHSOD, in noting that the authority to determine changes to the administration of the examinations rests with the CXC, proposed that the CXC should undertake a review of the recommendations made by COHSOD, and stakeholders, at its 28th Special Meeting,” it said in a statement issued after the meeting.
“The COHSOD emphasised that this proposal was with a view towards efficiency, equity and fairness in the administration of the examinations while maintaining the integrity of the process.”
COHSOD said CXC’s response will be sent to participating governments in the next week before being taken to its governing council for approval.
Teachers’ unions and parents of students due to sit the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) have opposed the structure of this year’s exams, and the decision not to adjust the examinations in light of the difficult situations confronting students due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT), the Caribbean Coalition for Exam Redress, and students have been circulating separate petitions on the matter.
In a press release last month, CXC said due to the difficulties facing students across the region, especially those in St Vincent affected by the La Soufriere volcano, it had taken the decision to reduce School-Based Assessments (SBAs) by as much as 50 per cent, to share the broad topics to be assessed on Paper 02 for CSEC and CAPE subjects with the Ministries of Education for distribution to all candidates on May 10, 2021 — five weeks before the start of the examinations — and to implement a facility for candidates who wish to defer sitting examinations.
However, the Caribbean Union of Teachers said in a statement issued earlier this week that the approach by CXC to handling the examination challenges posed by the pandemic has created uneasiness and high level of anxiety among stakeholders of the education sector and therefore, renders the entire process as “unfair” for regional students.
“It is inconceivable that CXC would want to conduct the 2021 examinations as a full-blown exercise in a period of tremendous challenges to Caribbean societies, families, education systems, and individual students,” stated the umbrella body for teachers’ unions across the region.