Sun | Apr 18, 2021

Opposition wants gov’t to lobby CXC on deferral of exams

Published:Thursday | April 8, 2021 | 2:31 PM
Brown Burke: "Many of our students have missed half of the last school year and almost all of the current year, and are therefore at a disadvantage when compared with students from other Caribbean islands.”

Opposition Spokesperson on Education and Training, Dr Angela Brown Burke, is calling for the Government to make representation for Jamaican students to be allowed to defer all aspects of their Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams until January or June next year.

Education Minister, Fayval Williams, last month indicated that students have until May 1 to decide if they want to defer sitting the exams.

At the time, she also informed that the Ministry has prepared guidelines for those students who would like to defer.

In a statement today, Brown Burke said her concern comes in light of complaints from students and teachers that contrary to previous understandings, students who initially thought they had the ability to defer, are now being told that the rule only applies to written exams and that school-based assessments (SBAs) should still be submitted this year.

She is of the view that this should not be the case.

“Education in Jamaica has been significantly impacted by COVID-19, and while some schools were allowed to reopen for face-to-face classes, many students have not had in-person teaching since March 2020. Many of our students have missed half of the last school year and almost all of the current year, and are therefore at a disadvantage when compared with students from other Caribbean islands,” said Brown Burke.

“A request for deferral on this basis is not unreasonable and a caring government should do all that’s within its power to negotiate favourable terms for its students with the CXC Board,” she continued.

With SBAs contributing as much as 40% of the overall grade for most subjects, Brown Burke said that the opposition is fearful that students may end up with automatic fails.

Jamaica has the largest number of students sitting CXC examinations on a yearly basis and this provides significant leverage for the Government to make effective representation on behalf of students, the opposition education spokesperson charged.

Brown Burke is calling for the Ministry of Education to acknowledge that students have faced significant and unequal odds over the last several months, and are deserving of the Government’s full support to give them a fair shot at securing the best CXC grades possible and safeguarding their future.

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