Why is CARICOM apparently enabling CXC’s continued callousness towards our region’s children?

We note that there are similarities, relating to institutional callousness, between the ongoing CXC crisis and others involving children throughout the region (eg the Government Industrial School in Barbados).

22 March 2021, marked *Six Months* since the release of CXC's 2020 Exam Grades, which significantly disadvantaged so many children in Barbados and CARICOM. These children may have been a minority, but they are no less important than the majority, and they deserve adult advocacy and resolution.

22 March 2021, marked *Six Months* since the release of CXC’s 2020 Exam Grades, which significantly disadvantaged so many children in Barbados and CARICOM. These children may have been a minority, but they are no less important than the majority, and they deserve adult advocacy and resolution.

The CXC review process (originally promised by CXC to be completed within a week) was apparently largely a delay mechanism. The vast majority of those disadvantaged children saw no change to their grades: less than 1.8% and less than 0.6% of CAPE and CSEC Reviews, respectively, resulted in grades upgraded. This lack of change does not indicate that the grading process was correct; it demonstrates, as we feared, that a flawed grading methodology, unaddressed and re-used in the review process, resulted in the same original flawed grade result.

Many of these children, already at risk and stressed by the current pandemic conditions, have gone through the gamut of emotions due to these 2020 Exam Results: shock, disappointment, despair, demoralisation, distrust of authority figures whom they expected to protect them, to, sadly, lack of confidence in their abilities and, finally, acceptance of the erroneous results, the last as a protective coping mechanism. The last was CXC’s plan all along, we suspect.

The ‘CXC 2020 Exam Fiasco’ (as referenced by Ms Redman of the BSTU) has significant negative implications for the credibility of CXC as a public examination body. There have been festering symptoms for years, that CXC’s testing methodology was sub-optimal.  The 2020 Pandemic ripped the scab off of this wound.  If the flaws in CXC’s testing systems are not comprehensively identified and fixed, this potentially will do a disservice to future students.  Thus, we speak not only for those students disadvantaged by the 2020 Exam results, but for all the students to follow, in the best interests of our nations and the CARICOM Region, including that of CXC itself. 

We also salute our region’s teachers, many of whom are demoralised by their professionalism and integrity being questioned in the media re their grading of 2020’s SBAs.   Some teachers who have been moderating SBAs for 20 – 30 plus years, had their marking questioned in 2020, impugning their integrity and capabilities, Even if it were true that there had been inappropriate behaviour by a few, they were all ‘thrown under the bus’.  What an insult to the entire profession – and systemic improper SBA grading, if true, has implications CXC’s past quality control!

What we demand now, remains unchanged from our original demand on 22 September 2020, the date of the release of flawed exam results, which were based on a flawed grading methodology and flawed exam structure.  We convincingly and comprehensively documented these deficiencies, aided by independent expert consultancy, in our Regional Coalition for CXC Exam Redress Press Conference of 10th December 2020.

We demand, on behalf of our CARICOM children:

  • CXC’s 2020 Grading methodology details
  • Upward Revision of the grades of those adversely affected students
  • Evidence of remediation of CXC’s quality control, to ensure that 2021 Exams are not similarly adversely affected. This may ultimately require external independent audit.
  • Commitment to greatly improved communication and real engagement of key and relevant education stakeholders: students, parents and teachers.

Optimal communication, accountability and transparency to the public clearly remain lacking from CXC. Most importantly, care and concern for our children, our future, are clearly lacking as well.

And here we are, in 2021, poised to repeat the 2020 mistakes and, potentially, new 2021 mistakes, as the underlying issues which led to the 2020 CXC Exam Fiasco remain unresolved.

Shame on CXC. Shame on CARICOM. Shame!

Shame on all of us as an adult society, if we do not protect our vulnerable children, and do not demand accountability and transparency, whether it’s the CXC crisis or other institutional crises relating to our children.

We will write separately re our concerns re CXC’s 2021 Exam Plans.

Khaleel Kothdiwala, Student Advocate, Barbados

Khaleel Kothdiwala,
Student Advocate, Barbados

Adela Scotland

Student Advocate, Trinidad & Tobago

Sherry Sookoo

Parent Advocacy Group Leader, Trinidad & Tobago


Michele Fraser

Parent Advocacy Group Leader, Guyana

Past President, Queen’s College PTA, Guyana

Paula-Anne Moore

Spokesperson and Coordinator

The Group of Concerned Parents of Barbados

The Regional Coalition for CXC Exam Redress

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  1. and shame on our own Ministry of Education who have blithely ignored the entire issue, and are therefore complicit in this outrage


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