The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has turned down requests to reduce the number of subjects to be written at the 2021 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations and has instead, decided to reduce the number of practical School Based Assessments (SBAs).
During an interview with the News Room, Education Minister, Priya Manickchand explained that the regional body has also declined to reduce the syllabus, noting that students who are writing the examinations in a pandemic need to be just as educated as persons who did so before COVID-19.
“CXC has taken a very firm decision that the syllabus is not going to be reduced in anyway –so they’re not going to say that we’re dropping these ten topics in any syllabus or a collection of them –that means that we have to be fully prepared,” the Minister said in defending the decision taken to reopen schools for CSEC and CAPE students in September 2020.
Instead, the regional body has opted to reduce the number of practical assignments per subjects.
“…there would be less practical work that has to be finished and there is a reason for that; SBAs should have started since April of this year and most countries in the region, who takes CXC have been out of school in April of this year, so they’re trying not to reduce the quality of work or not to interfere with the quality of certificate they issue, but at the same time, taking into consideration the reduced number of months,” Manickchand said.
CXC has changed the number of assignments for Physics, Biology and Chemistry from 16 to eight; those for Family and Resource Management reduced from 13 to six and those for Integrated Science reduced from 22 to eight.
The Education Ministry had requested that CXC offer all of its subjects in the January 2022 leg of the CSEC exams to give students the choice of writing the exams in June 2021 or January 2022.
However, this request was denied.
Schools across the country will be closing on December 18 for the Christmas holidays and will reopen on January 4, but not all students will return to the classrooms as was previously expected.
The Education Minister told the News Room in a recent interview that learning will resume in person for CSEC and CAPE students, while other students will continue their current mode of education.