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by Carlena Knight

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Students sitting Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations this year will write all three papers.

This means, that examinations will revert to their original format as students will be expected to do a paper 1, paper 2 and paper 3 (SBA) instead of just the paper 1 (multiple choice) and paper 3 (SBA) format that was implemented last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was revealed during a recent press conference with officials from the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) registrar, and media personnel from across the Caribbean.

The decision was made following two-day consultations by the Caricom Council for Human and Social Development (COHSAD) with Caricom Ministers of Education and other regional education officials, including the CEO and other representatives of the CXC over the “administration of the 2021 CAPE and CSEC examinations”.

A decision was also made on the date for when these examinations will take place. Both the CAPE and CSEC exams will begin on June 14th and end on July 16th.

Education officials here in Antigua are welcoming the latest recommendations coming out of the meeting.

Director of Education Clare Browne told this newsroom yesterday that the recommendations are in keeping with a previous request that local officials had put forward to the regional body in January.

Local partners had suggested a delay in the examinations, by one month, to facilitate the completion of the syllabus in order to give children a fair chance, taking into consideration the suspension of face-to-face sessions.

“The Ministry of Education would have canvassed the views of the secondary school principals and the Antigua State College and they would have indicated that is the option that they preferred. We did a quick check because the COHSAD started and we did the quick check to see if principals would have shifted from that time for the exams to be administered and there was no real shift. The decision that was taken was in keeping with what the Ministry of Education in Antigua and Barbuda would have requested,” said Browne.

Browne said then, the only drawback to that option would be a delay in the release of the results. 

CXC Registrar CEO Wayne Wesley while speaking at the press conference, explained that although these two decisions are definite, considerations will be made if a specific territory is unable to take exams due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic.

“Where there are disturbances that require us to rethink the approach within the context of preserving and not disadvantaging the students, we would work with the respective territories to ensure that the exam is administered in the way appropriate with their respective national protocols. We will not, and CXC has never done to activate and administer examinations outside of the national protocols so, while the general framework has been agreed where there are challenges, we will use whatever means are available,” Wesley said.

He also responded to concerns raised about the apparent limitations some students are now having due to the online learning format. Wesley highlighted that those students will be able to defer and take the exams either in the January 2022 sitting or the May/June 2022 sitting.

“Those who figure that given the circumstances and by an inability to complete all that is required to sufficiently demonstrate their competence in the examination, we have given them the opportunity to defer and, in that deferral, whatever course work in terms of their SBA will be transferred with them so, they are not really losing out.  It is a better option rather than saying no exams and defer those students who are ready to take the examinations to move on to University,” Wesley mentioned.

With this new date, results for these exams are expected to be released during the last week in September. Because of this late release, new measures for matriculation of CAPE students have been put in place by the University of the West Indies (UWI).

Vice Chancellor Professor Clive Landis explained exactly how those measures will pan out.

“The proposal is to allow you to matriculate with the CAPE units that you passed last year so that you can send an application to the UWI, and UWI can look at the application and give you a firm offer right now so that your progression into UWI is not going to be in anyway hindered. Students who have at least passed two CAPE subjects either at Unit one or two with grades one to four, who also have the requisite CSEC subjects and are currently registered for either Unit one or two will qualify as normal for matriculance into UWI,” Landis shared.

He noted however that this is the minimum requirement and that specific disciplines like the medical school may ask for additional information. 

Presently over 27,000 candidates in the region have registered thus far for CAPE while over 102,000 candidates have registered thus far for CSEC. However, registration is ongoing in some territories.