Teachers say they are ‘flying blindly’ towards CXC exams

Acting President of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers, Tasheba Frederick (Social media photo)
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By Theresa Goodwin

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While they supported education officials in reopening schools to facilitate CXC exams in July, teachers say they have serious questions regarding the 2020 exams’ validity.

Tasheba Frederick, Acting President of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers (A&BUT), says the Covid-19 pandemic has robbed teachers and students of valuable preparation time – and educators are now being asked to work miracles in little over a month.

“CXC has not even communicated important information about the process such as the school-based Assessment (SBAs) or the paper one; we are flying blindly. Parents were not even consulted in the process as an important stakeholder,” she claimed.

“The Ministry of Education has made significant progress to consult with teachers and while we applaud those efforts, many blunders have been made. Teachers need to feel empowered as they have a better understanding of the challenges and can offer innovative and creative solutions not thought of at the ministry level,” she said during A&BUT’s State of the Union address on Thursday.

She also claimed the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) did not consider the wellbeing of parents and teachers when they made the “misguided decision” to agree to the sitting of CXC exams in July, disregarding opinion of experts in the field.

Several countries, to include, Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, have also expressed dissatisfaction with COHSOD’s decision.

On Friday, the Trinidad Guardian reported that the country’s National Parents Teachers Association stands ready to employ legal strategies to protect the rights of the children which they claim are currently being violated.

Meanwhile, Frederick is appealing to the Antigua and Barbuda government not to ignore the needs of local private institutions that have requested assistance and guidance to deal with the economic challenges of Covid-19.

Frederick said these schools provide a great service to the education system and if they are allowed to fail it would place tremendous pressure on the public system.

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