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CUT expresses fears over CXC exams

CUT expresses fears over CXC exams

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THE Caribbean Union of Teachers (C.U.T.), the umbrella Organization of Teachers’ Unions in the region, recognizes that the Covid -19 pandemic has impacted societies within the region and has had serious negative effects on their education systems. While it appears that the region is managing the escalation of the pandemic, it remains a serious threat to public health and safety.

The C.U.T. is of the view that Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) and CXC made some decisions that are likely to impact students and the region negatively. Having consulted with educators and other stakeholders in the region on Thursday, April 8, 2021, that got the overwhelming support of stakeholder of all CARICOM states, our organization is convinced that the approach by CXC to handling the examination challenges posed by the pandemic has created some uneasiness and a high level of anxiety among stakeholders of the education sector. Despite the unusual situation, CXC appears to be proceeding in a business-as-usual manner. It is inconceivable that CXC would want to conduct the 2021 examinations as a full-blown exercise in a period of tremendous challenges to Caribbean societies, families, education systems, and individual students. It becomes even more for students in countries such as St. Lucia, Barbados, and Grenada are currently affected by the volcanic activity underway in St. Vincent. Would it be feasible and just to have examinations within such a context? It, therefore, renders the entire process unfair for the students of the region.

While the CXC has offered students the option of a deferral for one year, the C.U.T. finds that the concession is inadequate, and it encourages unfairness and injustice. The idea of a deferral of this year’s examination by students who have already suffered will only further aggravate the suffering of these students. The effect of that policy is to force students into a situation of deferring their educational development and putting their lives on hold. These fears are

further exacerbated when issues of how these students accepting deferrals will be assisted, have not been addressed.

The C.U.T.’s conviction is that the 2021 examinations should be rationalized to reflect the current situation. A critical factor to be considered in making decisions about the examinations is how best to effectively secure the interests of the students and ultimately the development of our individual nations and the entire region. The C.U.T. firmly believes that a narrowing of the syllabus and informing teachers and students of the topics for the examinations in a timelier manner would better address the challenges that students have faced, and provide a more realistic chance of fairly assessing their ability/ performance.

Further, CXC needs to act immediately to gain a level of trust among stakeholders in the education sector and to provide a measure of reassurance to students who are to write the 2021 CSEC and Cape Examinations.

The Caribbean Union of Teachers has requested a meeting with COHSOD and CXC to discuss the best interest of all concerned.

It is paramount that Ministers of Education across the region respond to the plight of the unprepared students and convene an emergency [meeting] of COHSOD so as to rescue an entire generation of students going down the tube because of decisions that do not reflect the realities on the ground. We owe our students a duty of care to ensure that their best interest is guaranteed in any policy decision taken during this most unprecedented and challenging time.

A statement from the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT)