Dr Brown Burke’s 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 SBAs should still be submitted this year.
Dr Brown Burke is insisting that, “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 this one, and are therefore at a disadvantage when compared with students from other Caribbean islands. 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.”
With SBAs contributing as much as 40% of the overall grade for most subjects, 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 our Government to make effective representation on behalf of our students.
Dr Brown Burke is calling on the Ministry of Education to acknowledge that our 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.
Meanwhile, at a recent meeting of CARICOM's Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) - Education, it was agreed that "candidates experiencing hardships may seek approval from their school (in-school candidates) or from the CXC® Local Registrar (private candidates), to defer their examinations until the January CSEC® 2022 sitting or May/June CAPE®, CSEC® or CCSCLC® 2022 sitting, for any subject offered for which they were previously registered, in the June/July 2021 examination session."
"It was also decided decided that "candidates must indicate their intent for deferral by 1 May 2021. Once an indication of intent to defer to an alternative exam cycle is received, the candidate’s current registration will be put on hold."
In addition, "submitted SBAs and scores can also be deferred for use in the next examination sitting. There will be no fee charged for the deferral of examinations, even if the deferred subjects are spanned across the January and May/June 2022 examination sessions."
The COHSOD, noted that "there have been calls for CXC® to consider the revision of requirements for syllabus coverage due to disruptions brought about by COVID-19. However, it was determined that any change, at any level, to the programme of studies offered by CXC® can prove disadvantageous to stakeholders and impact CXC’s ability to compare results across years in terms of equivalence of certification. Therefore, the one-month delay in the schedule of this year’s examinations will allow for additional instructional time as teachers and students prepare for examinations. Additionally, submission deadlines for SBAs have been extended by one month."
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