Tuesday | March 3, 2015

Thwaites concerned about SBA claims

Published:Sunday | October 20, 2013
Education minister Ronald Thwaites

Education minister Ronald Thwaites, who is in Shanghai, China, on official business, told The Sunday Gleaner that he is deeply concerned by the latest claims that more students were instructed by teachers to cheat on their school-based assessments (SBAs).

"Your queries are the first intimation I have had of doubts about the integrity of the exams and schools mentioned. Of course, I am deeply concerned.

"If proven, it would be another instance of weak administration and a win-at-all-cost attitude in our education system," said Thwaites in an email response to Sunday Gleaner questions.

And in a statement issued late last Friday, the education ministry said it was not aware of the allegations because a matter of this nature would be handled by the Overseas Examinations Commission (OEC), which is an autonomous agency of the ministry with responsibility for overseeing external examinations.

"On receiving The Gleaner's query, the ministry contacted the OEC, which advised that they had conducted investigations into the allegations, but these could not be substantiated.

"The OEC asked the person making the allegations to provide further evidence, but this has not been forthcoming," read the ministry's response.

The education ministry also said it was satisfied that the OEC has worked very hard over the years to put in place a quality-assurance system for examinations.

However, the ministry promised that an improved quality-assurance system would be developed in collaboration with the National Education Inspectorate and implemented in schools by January 2014.