Sat | Nov 28, 2020

Caribbean education ministers want waiver of CXC review fees

Published:Tuesday | October 20, 2020 | 9:47 AM
The Education Ministers met with CXC Registrar, Dr Wayne Wesley, on Monday to discuss the report submitted by the Independent Review Team set up by the regional examination body to look into complaints about the CAPE/CSEC 2020 examinations.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) education ministers have “unanimously” proposed that the Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) commit to a total waiver of fees for reviews of the 2020 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) exams.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Education in Trinidad said that Portfolio Minister, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, joined her counterpart from several countries including Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua, and Guyana for discussions with CXC Registrar, Dr Wayne Wesley, on Monday.

It said that the discussions were on the report submitted by the Independent Review Team set up by CXC to look into the queries of the CAPE/CSEC 2020 examinations.

The ministry said that Monday’s meeting lasted three hours and “discussed in some detail” several matters such as the extension of the deadline for queries beyond October 23 to November 6, a reduction in the Cost for Requests for Reviews for 2020, and a reversion to the pre-January 2018 position and practice where a review includes a remark, not simply a recalculation of the candidate’s score.

In addition, the statement said that the meeting also discussed expediting of Requests for Reviews and the abandonment of the CXC policy and practice of grade diminution.

“It was unanimously proposed by the Ministers in attendance that in addition to all the other measures outlined, a total waiver of fees for reviews should be considered by CXC for 2020. As such, the council will be approached by Wednesday, October 21 to consider the full implications of this,” the statement noted.

Last weekend, CXC said that from next year, it would be conducting 100 per cent moderation of all School Based Assessments (SBAs), based on the report of the independent group that was established after students and education officials throughout the region were critical of the grades given by CXC this year.

Usually, CXC marks a sample of the SBAs, but this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 100 percent were moderated from across the Caribbean, a move that uncovered leniency by teachers as opposed to a first mark and there would be a review mark.

The final report is expected to be made public later on Tuesday and CXC chairman, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, who is also the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, has indicated that reviews will be conducted at US$15 each – half the cost- and if students are found to deserve higher grades, they would get a full refund.

The CXC registrar said that up to Sunday, there have been 2,353 requests for reviews of CAPE results and 2,550 requests for CSEC results.

Already, he said the number of reviews for ‘ungraded’ “in all territories” amounted to less than one per cent of the number of persons affected.

Beckles said CXC is expected to put in place a system for students to deal directly with the regional examining body, not necessarily with local registrars and the Ministry of Education.

He said top priority would be given to students enrolled to enter universities in and out of the Caribbean.

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