Approaches to CXC 2021 Exit Examinations, Another View: CXC Matters by Khaleel Kothdiwala

“On Wednesday April 7th, the Caribbean Union of Teachers held a panel discussion and webinar on the approaches to the CXC 2021 examinations. This forum was addressed by teachers, principals, students, parents and teacher unionists. There was unanimous concern expressed with CXC’s stated plans for the administration of the 2021 examinations, announced at the beginning of March. 
 
Despite a declaration that the Council ‘stands ready to listen and to engage in dialogue with our critical stakeholders across the education landscape’, the same statement released today highlights that those pervasive concerns of nearly all education stakeholders have fallen on deaf ears. The general public must not be misled into believing that new plans were announced today. The press release issued today could not possibly have been in response to the fallout of the La Soufriere eruption, as the plans contained therein are a verbatim reproduction of those announced in March. 
 
Students remain concerned that despite the additional devastating impact of the eruption on education in St. Vincent certainly and Barbados, to an extent, the Council does not appear to be sufficiently apprised of the overwhelming nature of the multiple crises for students. An attempt to proceed full steam ahead is neither advisable nor wise.
 
Pursuing the usual exam format in an environment where students’ time in the classroom has been extremely limited, now further compounded for Barbadian and Vincentian students, is likely to prove disastrous for student outcomes and mental health. Moreover, the offer to defer sitting examination until next year is impractical, exacerbates the dislocation in the education system and further delays the educational progress of the region’s children.
 
As has been oft-stated, the Council must improve, with urgency, its communicative and consultative efforts with stakeholders. I am pleased to hear that the Council plans to meet with students in the near future to discuss these and more issues, and look forward to a formal invitation to such a forum. Students remain committed to a beneficial resolution of the issues of 2020, the solution to the emerging 2021 challenges, and more broadly to the issue of future examinations as well as the governance and oversight of the CXC. We recognize that building a CXC that is fit for purpose and highly functioning is in the best interest of all Caribbean citizens”

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