PORT OF SPAIN – Trinidad and Tobago students will sit examinations set by the Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) in July, Education Minister Anthony Garcia confirmed Friday.
He told a virtual news conference that the Trinidad and Tobago had been informed that proposals for the beginning of these examinations was the July 13 and “I took a note to Cabinet yesterday and Cabinet was in agreement with the beginning of these exams on the 13th of July”.
“Let me stress again, CXC is a regional examination body and when all the ministers of education on behalf of their governments come to an agreement we have to abide by the collective decision of the regional governments,” he added.
Earlier this month, the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) said it was “deeply concerned” at the decision taken by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) on Education that regional students will sit the exams in July.
The COHSOD meeting in May, which was held virtually and chaired by the Antigua and Barbuda Education Minister Michael Browne, said that the CXC would be setting exams for students in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).
But in a statement, the CUT said it was calling on Caribbean governments “to be mindful not to rush the process for the reopening of schools to facilitate the writing of CXC Examinations, unless they have instituted all measures outlined by the reopening of school protocol”.
The CUT said that it believes the “unfortunate” decision taken by COHSOD places the lives of thousands of students and teachers at risk, as all the issues surrounding the administering of the examinations have not been addressed.
The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) had also expressed concern about the Schools Based Assessment (SBA) saying that students would need more time to complete the SBAs since they would have had no face to face interaction with teachers since schools had been closed in March as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
But Garcia said that a new deadline had been set for the completion of the SBAs.
“In terms of the preparation for the completion of the SBAs, since the SBA will require constant and diligent work on our students, we want to ensure that all of our students are given the opportunity to produce the SBA of the highest quality and, as a result, we are reaching out to our teachers and our principals asking them to give support to our students so that the SBAs can be completed on time.
“CXC has decided to extend the deadline date for the submissions of the SBAs and that deadline date has been extended to the June 30,” he added.