Teachers anxious over CXC’s silence on 2021 plans
Educators across the island are growing anxious over what they say is a lack of communication by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) on how it intends to administer the 2021 sittings of the regional exams in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are seeing nothing at all from them, and that is making it really difficult for us to make decisions regarding payments and teaching because we do not know what is happening,” said Linvern Wright, president of the Jamaica Association of Principals of Secondary Schools.
“We really feel that CXC should have told us something by now in relation to whether or not they are going to modify exams, whether or not SBAs (school-based assessments) are going to be modified, and what it is that they are going to be using in terms of their assessment,” said the principal of William Knibb Memorial High School. “Are we going to have some modality that is a little tidier than last time but far more considerate of the situation we are going through now with the pandemic?”
In September, CXC Registrar Dr Wayne Wesley announced that the examination body would be analysing the impact of COVID-19 on syllabus coverage and SBA requirements and would make the necessary adjustments ahead of next year’s exams. It was subsequently announced that starting next year, CXC will be moderating all SBAs instead of samples from the respective examination centres.
“We, as the people who are engaging students in the curriculum, know there are going to be limitations. We are feeling frustrated that we are not getting that kind of dialogue or any kind of definitive statement at this time to help us know what it is we should do to prepare the students,” Wright lamented.
His concern is shared by Jamaica Teachers’ Association President Jasford Gabriel, who says that CXC has instituted an exam fee structure without input from educators.
“We have not had any kind of consultation or decision in how we will proceed going forward, and we only heard by the wayside that people are registering for exams,” he said, adding that he was concerned that there has been an increase in fees.
“There are [also] critical matters that must be discussed and a consensus arrived at, in our opinion, which includes the status of ongoing queries from the last examination period, the format and proposed timing of these examinations, and the justification for the increased cost,” added Gabriel.
When The Gleaner reached out to CXC Chairman Professor Hilary Beckles for comment, we were directed to contact Wesley. Efforts to reach him have been unsuccessful.