Sat | Apr 21, 2018

High level of CSEC exam absenteeism concerns CXC

Published:Friday | February 23, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Ruel Reid

Office administration, English literature, principles of accounts, information technology, and social studies were some of the subjects that recorded the highest level of absenteeism for the January sitting of the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) examinations, an occurrence the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) finds disturbing.

According to data that CXC made public in a release on Wednesday, office administration recorded 41 per cent absenteeism; English literature, 37 per cent; principles of accounts, 31 per cent; information technology, 30 per cent; and social studies, 28 per cent.

Dr Marcia Potter, deputy chair of CXC, indicated that she was very concerned as many candidates did not show up for their examinations, which were paid for by either the candidates or their governments.

"I am concerned about the number of absentees. It is cause for concern that taxpayers' money is being used to pay (for examinations fees) and candidates are not showing up to write the examinations," Potter lamented.

In giving an overview of the situation in Jamaica, education minister Ruel Reid said that though he was not able to retrieve any data up to press time, he had not had any reports showing adverse findings.

"We have not received any adverse reports. The majority of our students who sit the CSEC do so in May-June. The numbers being presented, however, could be representative of persons from the islands that were devastated by the hurricanes last year," he said.

"The subjects that were mentioned are subjects that Jamaicans usually do well at. We are not reporting anything that is of cause for concern at this time. We, however, await further information that will highlight whatever issues there are, if any."

In the meantime, Glenroy Cumberbatch, registrar of CXC, said avenues would be created to help candidates better prepare for the January sitting. The registrar said CXC plans to provide more detailed feedback to candidates on their performance so that they know exactly their areas of strengths and weaknesses.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com