Sat | May 30, 2020

Regional teachers body against July CXC exams

Published:Tuesday | May 19, 2020 | 12:01 PM

ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – The Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) says it is “deeply concerned” at the decision taken by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) on Education earlier this month that regional students will sit the Caribbean Examinations Council-administered exams in July.

The COHSOD meeting, which was held virtually and chaired by Antigua and Barbuda Education Minister Michael Browne, said that the Barbados-based CXC would be setting exams for students in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).

In a statement, the CUT said it was calling for 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.”

It 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 CUT said it had written to the CXC registrar in April indicating that its members were “vehemently opposed to the administration of the CXC examinations any time before September 2020.”

The letter outlined several reasons including health and safety issues, the need for greater engagement on the format of the examinations, as well as the validity issues associated with the proposed format of the examinations.

The CUT had also pointed to the technological capacity and infrastructural limitations of many of the educational institutions throughout the region.

“We are not confident that the governments of the region have demonstrated the level of preparedness for the planned reopening of schools in order to create a safe environment for students and teachers to effectively operate.

“We are aware that there are governments in the region which have reopened schools and some will in short order. We consider such a move to be reckless unless the requisite health provisions have been made,” the CUT said, adding, “We must understand that teaching and learning must take place in an environment that is conducive for such activities”.

It said that the health and well-being of students and teachers must take precedence over all other considerations at this time.

“Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has dramatically impacted our local, regional, and international psyche as well as our accustomed ways of business transactions. Importantly, the education sector has not been spared from the impact and it behooves all stakeholders to agree on mitigation measures that are proportionate, coherent, and inclusive.”

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