June 24, 2011

No requirement for PM to see exam results before release

There is no requirement for the Prime Minister or the Cabinet to see the results of the Common Entrance Results before they are published.{{more}}

This assurance came from Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves on Tuesday.

The prime minister told SEARCHLIGHT that his role is only to note the analysis of the results; never to approve the results.

“Why would we have to approve the results?” he quipped.

The prime minister said approval of the results for publication lies entirely with the Ministry of Education.

Gonsalves said the results of this year’s exam, written on Friday, June 3, could not be published in the newspapers of Friday, June 10, because the Ministry of Education only finished compiling them on Thursday, June 9.

The prime minister said, when contacted at about midday on Thursday, he told the Ministry officials that the earliest they could come to present the analysis of the results to him was at 2:00 pm., but even that was “pushing it”, as he had other appointments.

He said as expected, he was not available at 2:00 p.m., and it wasn’t until just before 5:00 p.m. that his office called the Ministry to acknowledge that he had received the results.

“I had not even read it yet, but I knew the weekend was coming, and I know that they need to get it out into the news media, so I said yes, I received it. That is how they called the tv station. It was minutes to five when they got that call from my office.

Despite this, the PM is adamant that it is only as a courtesy that the Ministry seeks to ensure that he is possession of the analysis, prior to publication, but this is not a requirement.

“That is the practice which has developed,” he said.

The prime minister said this practice did not this year, nor in any preceding year, cause a delay in publication of the results.

“They were ready for publication, not two days before they told me, but only on that Thursday, they would have been ready.”

“Of course, if they didn’t wait on me as a courtesy to give me that analysis, they could have put the analysis on the 12:30 news, but they could not have done the publication of the list,” Gonsalves said.

The Prime Minister said while he does not have to see the results before publication, he likes to be prepared, so that if he is questioned by anyone on the analysis of the results, he can respond from the moment they are published.

“I shouldn’t have to see the analysis before… but part of it is my enquiring (mind). Why have we done better, why have we not done as well as in the preceding five years? Why are the numbers in English not as high as those in Mathematics or vice versa? Are there any peculiarities in this year’s results and why?”

The prime minister also made it clear that it is not a requirement for Cabinet to see or authorize the publication or release of any list, whether it be Common Entrance, CXC or A’level results.