Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
The Ministry of Education is pushing to ensure improved results from students taking the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations.
Following the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) 40th anniversary church service yesterday, Grace McLean, chief education officer in the Ministry of Education, told The Gleaner that the ministry had been working with various stakeholders such as the University of the West Indies, the CXC, and Mico University College to assist both students and teachers.
"In December of last year, we had a workshop for both math and English for more than 400 of our teachers where we brought them together over a four-day period, teaching them the fundamental concepts and principles," McLean said. "Our regional offices are working with the schools now to organise camps for those students who will be sitting exams in April and May of this year."
She added: "We have done a lot of things since last year. There is a broad-based committee that is in place. We have developed a medium- and long-term strategy to treat with both math and English, which is being implemented as we speak."
McLean advised students not to forget important fundamental concepts such as reading ahead and research.
"I suppose the electronic era is affecting the way our students think and the pace at which they come to the realisation that there are still some fundamental principles and concepts that must be learnt before they can do well in an exam, so these are some of the principles that we are trying to instil in our students," she said.
Professor E. Nigel Harris, vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies, who sits on the CXC board, shared McLean's sentiments and charged students to take the time to read.
"We cannot make the CXC exam any easier, but the problem that some of our students have with especially English (English language) is that our students don't read, and one of the points that is being made by the CXC is that students should do English B (English literature) so as to develop their comprehension skills," he said.
"Parents and students have to do their part because we can't lower the standards of the examination. We are not competing with ourselves, we are competing with the world, so we have to make the necessary steps as a region because we have to see some improvements, particularly in those areas," he declared.