(Barbados Today)-The Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) has been accused of putting its own interests ahead of students’ in the region.
Harsh criticism came from president of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) Mary Redman after a press conference in Barbados on May 26, 2021 after CXC announced the changes to its 2021 examinations change of date.
Dr Wayne Wesley Registrar and chief executive officer of CXC, had revealed that exams were to be postponed by two weeks until June 28.
In a press release, Redman said, “CXC has played true to form whereby they have reflected, in the contents of their press release, their consistent modus operandi of putting the interests of the organisation above all else. CXC’s so-called concessions are designed to cause them the least possible disruption and/or inconvenience regardless of the impact on those they purport to serve, that is, the students of the region.”
“The fact that they have not sought in any way to modify or remove paper 1 which covers the whole syllabus, despite the union’s repeated call, is a hypocritical stance in juxtaposition with their rationale for, and provision of, broad topics for paper 2.
“The practical and fair approach should have been to introduce choices or options in paper 2, as we repeatedly recommended. Instead, they have kept it as a totally compulsory paper as per normal. All of this has been done with their clear knowledge and understanding that it is impossible for students and teachers, in far too many instances regionally, to complete the various subject syllabuses.
“At a time when children should be consolidating, they are now engaged in frantic attempts to complete as much of the syllabuses as possible while simultaneously completing their SBAs. None of this can be properly achieved within a two-week extension of the commencement of exams. CXC could not even be sympathetic enough to grant the three weeks that the CUT had recommended,” the statement further added.
Redman maintained that the over 15,000 students who had so far deferred taking the regional exams was a substantial number.
She said those ministers of education from across the various territories who supported CXC’s decision were implicated in the “active disadvantaging and disenfranchisement of our youth in this year’s exams”.
Spokesperson for the Concerned Group of Parents of Barbados, Paula-Anne Moore said the pleas and cries of students and parents had fallen on deaf ears.
“We cannot help but be deeply disappointed but not surprised that CXC has continued its utter tone deafness and rejection of the mental and emotional distress of the children and has continued business as usual with respect to the 2021 exit assessments.
“The mere two-week delay means less than nothing to the hundreds of thousands of students and it will further put children not only at mental risk but potentially greater infection with respect to COVID-19 by insisting on these in-person exams,” Moore said.
Meanwhile, outspoken student advocate Khaeel Kothdiwala charged that CXC’s decision had left students across the region distraught and traumatized.
He contended that the regional examining body had failed to listen to the concerns of students.