CUT objects to the CSEC and CAPE exam plans from CXC
CASTRIES – Caribbean teachers objected to the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) decision to conduct the CSEC and CAPE examinations as “a full-blown exercise” this year.
The Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT), the umbrella organisation for teachers’ unions around the region, said CXC should “rationalise” the examinations to reflect the current educational environment, which has been undermined by the COVID-19 pandemic and volcanic activity in St Vincent.
The CUT also requested a meeting with the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) and CXC, as well as education minister s from around the Caribbean to discuss what is in the best interest of all concerned, primarily the students.
“The CUT is of the view that the COHSOD and CXC made some decisions that are likely to impact students and the region negatively,” a media release said.
“Having consulted with educators and other stakeholders in the region on Thursday, April 8 that got the overwhelming support of stakeholders of all CARICOM states, our organisation is convinced that the approach by CXC to handling the examination challenges posed by the (COVID-19) pandemic has created some uneasiness and a high level of anxiety among stakeholders of the education sector.”
The CUT balked at what is described as CXC’s “business-as-usual manner” and considered the exam body’s decision “unfair”.
“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,” the CUT media release said.
“It becomes even more for students in countries such as St Lucia, Barbados and Grenada (that) are currently affected by the volcanic activity underway in St Vincent. Would it be feasible and just to have examinations within such a context? It, therefore, renders the entire process unfair for the students of the region.”
The CUT termed CXC’s offer to students of a deferral for one year “inadequate” and will bring more anguish to affected students.
“…It encourages unfairness and injustice,” the CUT media release said. “The idea of a deferral of this year’s examination by students who have already suffered will only further aggravate the suffering of these students.
“The effect of that policy is to force students into a situation of deferring their educational development and putting their lives on hold. These fears are further exacerbated when issues of how these students accepting deferrals will be assisted have not been addressed.”
The CUT said CXC needed to consider how best to effectively secure the interests of the students.
“The CUT firmly believes that a narrowing of the syllabus and informing teachers and students of the topics for the examinations in a timelier manner would better address the challenges that students have faced and provide a more realistic chance of fairly assessing their ability/performance,” the media release said.
“Further, CXC needs to act immediately to gain a level of trust among stakeholders in the education sector and to provide a measure of reassurance to students who are to write the 2021 CSEC and CAPE examinations.”
“It is paramount that ministers of education across the region respond to the plight of the unprepared students and convene an emergency meeting of COHSOD, so as to rescue an entire generation of students from going down the tube because of decisions that do not reflect the realities on the ground.
“We owe our students a duty of care to ensure that their best interest is guaranteed in any policy decision taken during this most unprecedented and challenging time.” (AR)