The Students of the Caribbean Say “No Way, CXC”

The Caribbean Coalition for Exam Redress, in fulfilment of its mandate to amplify the voices of students as important education stakeholders, conducted an online survey of Caribbean students to gauge their level of satisfaction generally with the Caribbean Examinations Council and their exit examinations.
The survey, using the Microsoft Forms platform, was conducted between May 31st and June 2nd, 2021. Respondents originated mainly from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, with sizeable representation of Guyanese and Eastern Caribbean students. 41% identified themselves as CSEC students, while 21% are sitting CAPE Unit I exams, and the remaining 38% being CAPE Unit II students.

The students of the Caribbean are strongly dissatisfied with the actions and conduct of the CXC:

? More than ¾ are dissatisfied with the arrangements for 2021 exams
? 3 out of 4 students are dissatisfied with the insufficient concessions offered in 2021
? More than half do not find the broad topics sufficiently helpful
? 8 out of 10 students are not ready to take examinations as presently structured and timetabled in 2021
? 72% of students want creative solutions, not a mere delay of traditional exams
? 7 out of 10 students are completely dissatisfied with CXC’s deficient communication
? Most DAMNINGLY 85% of students do not feel that CXC values them as stakeholders

The Coalition is unconvinced about the seriousness with which the CXC has sought to implement the recommendations of the Independent Review Team. Had the CXC undertaken to rectify issues surrounding stakeholder engagement, contingency planning and communication, perhaps we would not presently find ourselves in the untenable situation we are, where parents, students and teachers have no confidence in CXC.

Arising out of this near UNANIMOUS dissatisfaction with CXC, the students of the region DEMAND:

an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the events of 2020-21 and the operations of CXC generally (87% support), and a permanent independent regulatory body to oversee the operations of CXC (87% support)

The Coalition is also concerned about the disgraceful dereliction of duty on the part of many regional Ministries of Education, particularly their technocrats, evidenced by their lack of responsiveness to the legitimate concerns of students, parents and teachers and their acquiescence to plans which endanger our students.

The crisis of 2020 has not yet been satisfactorily resolved, and we hurtle toward another crisis this year. Nonetheless, the Coalition hopes, and indeed stands ready to assist in the strategic planning for 2022, recognizing that COVID-19 and its effects, will remain for a while, in order to avoid the now two-year running crisis engulfing the CXC.

Finally, more than 9 out of 10 students support the establishment of a regional parent-student body to advocate for their best interest. Arising therefrom, the Caribbean Coalition for Exam Redress signals its intent to form a permanent advocacy vehicle through which we can continue to promote the best interests of students and parents, amplify their voices and collaborate with other stakeholders as we seek to relook Caribbean educational assessment to keep pace with developments in international best practice.

Based upon the pervasive anecdotal and indeed empirical evidence, the physical, mental, academic and professional health of our region’s students is at stake, and thus so too, is CARICOM’s capacity for economic growth and development. The need for reform could not be more urgent.

We append here for download a reader-friendly full report of the CCER Student Engagement Survey.

The Students Have Spoken. Will We Listen?

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