By Vishani Ragobeer
The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has further postponed the beginning of this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Examinations and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) to June 28.
The regional examinations body has also maintained that candidates will be writing both Paper I (multiple choice questions) and Paper II (essay-type questions) in addition to the required Paper III component, which is the School-Based Assessment (SBA) or written component for private candidates.
This was announced by CXC Registrar, Dr. Wayne Wesley, during a media briefing on Wednesday. These decisions were made following a meeting of the governing council of the CXC on Tuesday afternoon.
“… the special council meeting convened yesterday, accepted and reviewed a report from the Schools Examinations Committee (SEC) and made recommendation on the strategy for the 2021 for the regional examinations which emanated from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) through (its) Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD), where teachers, students as well as members of government would have been able to share their opinions and indicate their preferred choice,” Dr. Wesley said on Wednesday.
The revised strategy for the 2021 regional examinations, as indicated by Dr. Wesley are as follows:
- CXC will administer CAPE, CSEC and CCSLC examinations in their original format. That is for CAPE and CSEC, Papers I, II and III and for Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC), Papers I and II
- The sitting of the regional examinations has been delayed by a further two weeks. As such the examination will commence on Thursday, June 28, 2021 and candidates’ results will be released sometime during the last week in September to the first week in October, as previously communicated.
- The deadline for candidates to register their intent to defer their sitting of the examinations to 2022 has been further extended to May 31, 2021.
- Extension of submission of SBAs has been extended to June 30, 2021 for all CSEC and CAPE examinations.
“Council also took note of the concessions CXC already instituted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and further consideration has been given during the grading process to account for the likely psychosocial impact on students’ performance to ensure they are not disenfranchised,” Dr. Wesley said too.
For students in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), it was further noted that there is continued dialogue with the government there.
Speaking specifically on the postponement of the examinations, which were previously slated to commence on June 14, 2021, Dr. Wesley said that this decision was made after the education ministries in some Caribbean countries indicated that their students would be ready to sit the examinations while others indicated otherwise.
On Tuesday, in response to a question posed by the News Room, Guyana’s Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, said that most Guyanese students prefer to sit the examinations offered by the CXC this year.
“(The postponement) will provide candidates with extra time to prepare for the examinations,” Dr. Wesley assured members of the media.
Meanwhile, when asked about the psychosocial support needed for students and their readiness for the examination given the varying country experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic, Chairman of CXC, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, explained that CXC is only an examination body.
As such, he said, the countries themselves would have been responsible for ascertaining whether their students are ready to take the examinations.
“And the majority of the countries are of the view that our children are ready now, some countries said we need more time,” Sir Beckles said, relating that the two-week postponement was an attempt at finding some “middle ground”.
Meanwhile, Dr. Wesley also noted that the body was reviewing the queries raised by some governments about the broad topics released previously to help students prepare for the Paper II examinations. He said that clarity would be provided by this Friday.
Minister Manickchand, on Tuesday, also noted that Guyana was one of the countries which indicated that in some subject areas, there was not enough specificity on the broad topics released.