By Theresa Goodwin
Scores of students who have opted against writing exams administered by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) this year are being told it is not too late to have a change of heart.
The advice is coming from Local CXC Registrar Myrick Smith who is encouraging students and teachers to proceed with their preparations if they are still able to do so.
“My encouragement to teachers is to push as much as possible and if after careful assessment they realise the students would be placed at a disadvantage, then they could consider differing. There is still some time left for students to change their minds because a deadline has not been set by CXC,” Smith said.
His comments come a week after President of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers, Kimdale Mackellar revealed that a number of students have opted to delay writing this year’s exams out of fear they are adequately prepared, given the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic which have significantly hampered preparations.
The 2021 sitting, scheduled for June/July, will see the examinations returning to their normal format to include the writing of both the Paper One and Paper Two components, in addition to Paper Three for private candidates.
However, CXC will continue to moderate 100 percent of the School Based Assessments (SBAs) submitted by students, akin to what was introduced at last year.
These developments were confirmed by CXC officials during a virtual press conference held last Monday.
To compensate for the fact that time has been lost, CXC has also extended the date for submission of the SBAs in addition to conducting training across the region to ensure that concerns regarding SBAs are addressed.
The regional examination body also noted that five weeks ahead of the exams the broad topics on which the exams will be based, will be sent out to each regional territory.
Meanwhile, Smith said that there are several factors to be considered with the deferral process.
He questioned how the process would work and how will the issuance of a CXC certificate be handled if it is left to individual students.
“If a person is registered for eight subjects and defers two. Do they get a certificate at the end of this year and another when they decide to do the other subjects? Some institutions also require the students to have at least a minimum number of subjects at one sitting,” the local CXC registrar said.
During last week, in a virtual press conference, CXC Registrar and Chief Executive Officer Dr Wayne Wesley explained that students choosing the deferrals would sit the examinations at the same centers where they are registered and those taking the option would have to apply through their schools.
Private candidates can apply for their deferrals through the local exam’s office in each respective country.
“No fee will be implemented for deferral of subject. CXC will be working closely with the ministries of education and local registrars to ensure implementation of changes are done smoothly and in the best interest of our students,” Dr Wesley said.