Caribbean Education Ministers Want Total Waiver Of Fees For CXC Reviews

(CMC) — Several Caribbean Community (Caricom) education ministers have “unanimously” proposed that the Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) commit to a total waiver of fees for reviews of the CXC 2020 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE).

A statement issued by the Ministry of Education in Trinidad, said that Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, joined her counterpart from several countries, including Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua and Guyana, for discussions with CXC Registrar, Dr Wayne Wesley on Monday.

It said that the discussions were on the report submitted by the Independent Review Team set up by CXC to review the queries of the CAPE/CSEC 2020 examinations.

The ministry said that Monday’s meeting lasted three hours and “discussed in some detail” several matters such as the extension of the deadline for queries beyond October 23 to November 6, reduction in the Cost for Requests for Reviews (RFR) for 2020, reversion to the pre- January 2018 position and practice where a review includes a remark, not simply a recalculation of the candidate’s score.

In addition, the statement said that the meeting also discussed expediting of Requests for Reviews (RFR) and the abandonment of the CXC policy and practice of grade diminution.

“It was unanimously proposed by the ministers in attendance that in addition to all the other measures outlined, a total waiver of fees for reviews should be considered by CXC for 2020; as such, the Council will be approached by Wednesday, October 21st to consider the full implications of this,” the statement noted.

Last weekend, the CXC said that from next year, it would be conducting 100 per cent moderation of all School Based Assessments (SBAs), based on the report of the independent group that was established after students and education officials throughout the region were critical of the grades given by CXC this year.

The final report is expected to be made public later today, and the CXC chairman, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, who is also the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (the UWI) said the reviews will be conducted at US$15 each — half the cost — and if students are found to deserve higher grades, they would get a full refund.

The CXC Registrar said that up to Sunday, there have been 2,353 requests for reviews of CAPE results and 2,550 requests for CSEC results. Already, he said the number of reviews for ‘ungraded’ “in all territories” amounted to less than one per cent of the number of people affected.

Professor Beckles said CXC is expected to put in place a system for students to deal directly with the regional examining body, not necessarily with local registrars and the Ministry of Education. Professor Beckles said top priority would be given to students enrolled to enter universities in and out of the Caribbean.

Usually CXC marks a sample of the SBAs, but this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic almost 100 per cent were moderated from across the Caribbean, a move that uncovered leniency by teachers as opposed to a first mark and there would be a review mark.