With growing calls for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) examinations to be postponed due to the “high level of unpreparedness” among Jamaica’s students, the Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams is publicly pushing for this to happen.
Williams has written to Kay McConney, Chair of Caricom’s Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) pointing to the need for a delay in this year’s exam dates.
The exams are administered by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) each May and June.
“Minister Williams notes that concerns about the high levels of unpreparedness of Jamaican students for the examinations are still being reported and the appeals for Government intervention have intensified.
“Jamaica is proposing a delay in the start of the administration of the examinations by one month from May 2022 to June 2022 or at least two weeks. In addition, Jamaica has also asked for an extension for the submission of the School- Based Assessments (SBAs),” said a statement issued by the education ministry Friday afternoon.
In her letter, the minister noted that her ministry, in collaboration with the National Secondary Students Council conducted a survey between February 23 and March 8, aimed at capturing the views of students with respect to their readiness for the CSEC and CAPE.
The findings show that 1,754 of the 2,812 students surveyed indicated that they needed more time to prepare for the examinations to include the completion of SBAs.
“Further consultations were held with principals and over 90 per cent of them expressed the need for additional time to prepare students for the sitting of the mentioned examinations,” Williams revealed.
She said the need for more time to prepare students was first raised with CXC on January 12, and again on March 11. However, no reprieve was granted.
Williams also pointed out that students who are now preparing for the examinations were in Grade 9 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean, for the most part, and this led to the closure of schools.
“These said students also spent all of the Grade 10 school year in the remote environment and were just recently provided the opportunity for in-person learning in the midst of the fourth wave of the pandemic here in Jamaica.
“This cohort of students has suffered from severe disruptions in their learning journey as well as the fact that they have been exposed to physical displacement, emotional and psychological trauma occasioned by the pandemic,” Williams stated.
“It is against this background that I seek your urgent intervention to have the matter addressed in the most amicable way to ensure that our students are not disenfranchised,” Williams told McConney.
She said that while Jamaica is appreciative of the deferral option being afforded to these students, out of deep concern for even the best of the cohort, principals and students have appealed for the Ministry’s assistance in advocating for the delayed start of the exams and the submission of SBAs.
“We do support the foregoing and call upon the COHSOD to strongly consider same in the best interest of the students. We all have an obligation to enable the success of our students whilst ensuring the integrity of the examination. Accordingly, we anticipate your favourable consideration concerning this extremely important matter, the future of our children,” Williams concluded.