Sun | Oct 1, 2023

Teacher at centre of Penwood-CXC debacle sacked

Published:Tuesday | January 17, 2017 | 12:00 AMJovan Johnson
Students of Penwood High.

Christopher Stephenson, the examination coordinator at the centre of last year's ungraded exams debacle at Penwood High in St Andrew, has been sacked by the school's board. But he's fighting it.

Howard Isaacs, president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association, confirmed the development yesterday, noting that the union has filed an appeal with the Teacher Appeals Tribunal. However, he declined to give further details.

The Alphansus Davis-chaired three-member tribunal has reportedly acknowledged the application, The Gleaner understands.

The Penwood High board, chaired by Gregory Pullen, reportedly wrote to Stephenson earlier this month advising him that his permanent employment at the school would be terminated effective April 30, the day his eight-month leave ends. The exact charges brought against the teacher are not known and senior board members declined to comment.

Stephenson teaches principles of accounts and principles of business at the school.




Last August, news emerged that 131 Penwood High students received ungraded results in six Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate subjects offered by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) because school authorities failed to submit samples of their school-based assessments (SBAs) by a July 31 deadline. Several of the students were left in a quandary, as they were unable to matriculate into sixth-form or pursue job opportunities.

Penwood's principal, Donna McLaren, said she had not known the samples had not been submitted until the CXC called the school on August 8, one week before the results were released across the Caribbean.

She said the school had problems using CXC's online submission system and the exam coordinator did not follow other schools with similar problems and submit physical copies to the Overseas Examinations Commission before the deadline.

CXC initially refused to consider Penwood's case, but Jamaica lobbied and even threatened to review its relationship if the response was not favourable. The exam body later accepted the SBAs and released the results in October.

Students were similarly affected at Portmore Community College, Haile Selassie High, Manning's Evening School, and the St Vincent Strambie Catholic School in St Elizabeth.