Tyrone Reid, Senior Staff Reporter
At least three employees of two quasi-government agencies were fired last week after it was determined that the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) preliminary result slips they submitted were fraudulent.
Following a Sunday Gleaner exposť at the start of this month on the sale of CXC preliminary result slips several companies have been going to the regional body seeking confirmation of the grades on which they offered persons employment.
In one agency a young man was fired after CXC told the agency's human resources department that it had no record of the passes he claimed to have gained in a January 2010 sitting of the exams.
Another entity found two of its employees had submitted passing grades they bought on the streets.
Officials at the two entities, who confirmed that the three were fired, have requested that the names of the organisations be withheld.
In the meantime, Susan Giles, head of examinations administration and security at the CXC headquarters in Barbados, told The Sunday Gleaner that the regional body has seen an increase in the number of requests for transcripts since the exposť revealed that fake grades were being sold on the streets of Jamaica for $12,000 per subject.
"We have gotten a lot of requests for transcripts ... it's quite a few. This is the time of year when we get a lot of requests (but) there has been about a 10 per cent increase for the region," she said.
When The Sunday Gleaner exposed the illegal trade in Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) grades earlier this month, Giles encouraged employers and educational institutions to consult the CXC if they need to verify any qualification received from prospective employees.
At that time, the senior assistant registrar also urged employers and educational institutions to ask prospective employees and students to apply online for a transcript, which would be sent directly to the employer or school.
Local companies have been quick to make the checks.
"Companies have taken up the offer and they have been directing employees to get transcripts," said Giles during a telephone interview last Thursday.
In a sales pitch to a Gleaner reporter, one of the masterminds behind the scam claimed the illegal operation was an inside job.
The scammer also claimed that the fake grades would be entered into CXC's database but the regional body has vehemently denied the claims and has stoutly defended the integrity of its system.
In addition, Dr Didacus Jules, CXC's chief executive warned that holders of falsified preliminary results slips can be prosecuted.
Even though criminals are making $12,000 per subject from their illicit operations, the CXC Act states that anyone found guilty of examination fraud "shall be liable on summary conviction in a Resident Magistrate's court to a fine not exceeding $2,000 or in default of payment thereof, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months".
While the law seems to offer just a slap on the wrist for offenders, Jules said the council did not take the matter lightly and pledged to explore steps to further tighten its already stringent security measures.
Jamaica's education minister, Ronald Thwaites, in response to The Sunday Gleaner's exposť, described the sale of CSEC passes as scandalous.