The Caribbean Examinations Council's local registrar in Jamaica does not believe that the recent disqualification of 70 Jamaica College (JC) sixth-form students by the regional body for plagiarism has damaged the reputation of the country's school system.
However, Hector Stephenson, who is also executive director of the Overseas Examinations Commission (OEC), admitted to The Sunday Gleaner that the sordid affair has propelled the OEC to take a greater look at the system.
"No, I wouldn't say it has damaged Jamaica's reputation, (but) we are working with the Ministry of Education to ensure that we strengthen the quality assurance systems in schools," he said.
"CXC will not second-guess SBAs that come before them. I really don't think it will tarnish Jamaica's reputation in the marketplace or in the region. I think we have done exceptionally well with the administration of our exams over the decades," added Stephenson.
On October 2, 2013, after conducting an investigation, the CXC revoked the grades for 70 JC students who sat physics in the 2013 Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) at the school earlier this year.
The decision was made after CXC officials weighed and measured reports of irregularities with the school-based assessments (SBA) for CAPE physics submitted for the entire sixth-form cohort at JC.
Stephenson explained that the "problem with SBAs is that we come in at the back end" and "a lot of it depends on the integrity of the teacher".
However, the local registrar said the buck ultimately stops with principals.
"School administrators have a responsibility to put systems in place to ensure that the teachers comply with the SBA regulations put in place by the examining body," Stephenson opined.