Caribbean News

CARICOM education ministers meet in Barbados next week

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) education ministers meet in Barbados next week where issues relating to the examinations set by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) will be discussed.

Information Minister Melford Nicholas, speaking at the end of the weekly cabinet meeting here, noted that the reputation of the Barbados-based CXC could be affected following
“The CXC over its life, has achieved a certain degree of acceptance as an entry point for universities across the globe. So this particular issue is troublesome in the sense that if we….from across CARICOM, do not handle it correctly, it could do some harm to the reputation of the CXC process itself. So they have got to deal with that

The Cabinet statement said that questions concerning the open-book mathematics CXC exam which was initiated by invigilators in Trinidad, though the exam was to have been without materials, will be discussed.

The statement noted that the CXC has been invited to meet with the educator ministers during the meeting.

Hundreds of people across the region have signed a petition calling for the 2019 CSEC Mathematics exam to be redone, in light of a breach in security in Trinidad and Tobago.

The petition comes after CXC issued a statement advising that it had launched an investigation into the cheating incident.

Three invigilators have since been fired following the circulation of a video on social media showing students at a certain secondary school on their phones during the CSEC math exam.

The petition noted that it would be unfair if only certain students were allowed to resit the exam.

“It would be unfair if these students are allowed a free pass, and equally unfair if only selected schools/students are allowed to re-sit a supplementary exam. The extent to which exams could have been scanned and shared, not only nationally, but regionally is unfathomable. Students could have been privy to the exam questions earlier than the start time and they could have sent these images on social media to their counterparts in other schools across the country and region. The invigilator also could have further compromised the situation by sharing the exam with other invigilators,” the petition stated.

Nicholas said if the re-sit of the exams is required to protect the CXC’s reputation and credibility, then the regional examination body should consider such a proposal.

“And whatever they make a determination in terms of the outcome and if part of the curing system means the exam will have to be re-done I guess we will all have to address our minds to it.

“I think they will have to consider all those issues,” he added.

The Cabinet statement also noted that the Barbados meeting will also discuss the report on the Fourth landed campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

Antigua and Barbuda is pushing for the campus to be located here and Prime Minister Gaston Browne has already accused some regional countries of engaging in “petty jealousy” regarding the attempts to derail the matter.

The statement said that Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin will be among the two-man delegation to the Barbados meeting next week.


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