CXC job pain - Regional exam body pleads with employers to look beyond CSEC qualification for job seekers
The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is pleading with employers to diversify their job requirements amid concerns from the top brass of the regional body that thousands are failing the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations year after year.
The CSEC has become a favourite entry-level qualification of employers, but fear that this certification could be shutting out thousands was on full display yesterday.
CXC Registrar Glenroy Cumberbatch, in announcing the council's latest examination results in Grenada yesterday, said that more than 60,000 candidates sat five or more CSEC subjects, with 59 per cent of them gaining at least grade three, which is a minimum pass.
However, with a significant number of students failing to get acceptable grades, Cumberbatch expressed concern that enough students were not being qualified to enter the tough job market to employ themselves or to be employed.
"We have over 11,000 candidates who took exams who did not receive grades one to three in any of the subjects," the CXC registrar disclosed.
"When we do our calculations [at] CXC, out of the possible population to write exams at the end of secondary school, just over 20 per cent actually get the opportunity to [do so].
"And if just over 20 per cent actually get the opportunity to enter and 13 per cent of those are not receiving any acceptable grades in the subjects that they take, then you see why we consider it a concern," Cumberbatch stated.
Employers usually require at least five CSEC subjects for taking up job opportunities, assuming that candidates will be able to function in the work environment, and, at least, be capable of being trained. But the registrar contended that that method might not be the best approach in the circumstances of high unemployment among youth.
Pointing to the Caribbean Community human resource development strategy, which refers to a wallet of certification for people in the region, Cumberbatch argued for employers to consider the Caribbean Vocational Qualification and similar examinations as other options for entry-level qualification.
"We are asking persons to vary their qualifications requirement. We are asking governments, business people, everybody to vary from just [asking] for CSEC alone, but to use the wallet of certification to bring people into work [and] into industries to give them opportunities ... , " the CXC registrar implored.