Fri | Jul 10, 2020

Samuda explains sudden CXC exam date shift

Published:Wednesday | June 3, 2020 | 12:13 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer

EDUCATION MINISTER Karl Samuda has explained the decision by his ministry to accede to the request by the Caribbean Examinations Council to bring forward the date for external exams even as the Opposition continues to level criticisms.

Some 132,000 Jamaican students will commence exams at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination on July 13 rather than July 27.

Samuda, who addressed the issue in Parliament on Tuesday, said that the new start would still allow for students to get a breather before the 2020-2021 academic year.

“The earlier start date will facilitate the completion of the examination by August 3, enabling the students to have a one-month break before the start of the new school year,” Samuda told the House of Representatives.

“Based on all consultations, we are satisfied that in most instances, the year’s syllabus will be completed by the end of the school term.”

Exam results are expected in the third week of September.

WIDESPREAD CONSULTATIONS

Samuda said there had been widespread consultation in the education sector to arrive at the dates.

“The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has engaged in consultation of principals of secondary schools, the Association of principals and vice-principals, the Jamaica Teachers’ Association, the ecumenical church group, the Parent-Teacher Association, and the Jamaica Prefects Association,” Samuda stated.

Samuda also said that the National Secondary Students’ Council had also been consulted.

“The National Secondary Students’ Council public relations officer is on record in the meeting noting that a delay in the exams will hold back the students. She argued that such a decision would adversely affect students’ chances of getting into universities overseas for the 2020-21 school year,” said Samuda, as he apologised for misunderstanding surrounding an initial statement.

In the meantime, Opposition Spokesman on Education Peter Bunting said that the Government had bungled the management of the sector during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We have seen so many stops and starts, flips and flops, from the minister on policy and operational issues since the start of this COVID lockdown,” Bunting said.

The Manchester Central member of parliament said that most of the issues were unforced errors on Samuda’s part.

He accused the Government of being reluctant to accept “constructive” suggestions from the Opposition.

“But in almost every case, they have had to grudgingly adopt it after initially resisting it,” Bunting declared.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com