(CARICOM SECRETARIAT)- CSEC and CAPE students will be sitting their examinations in July this year. That was the decision coming out of the First Emergency Virtual Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) – Education on Friday. The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Education from Antigua and Barbuda Hon. Michael Browne.
Registrar of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) Dr. Wayne Wesley, made a presentation at the meeting where he explained that the administration of the modified examination process for the award of valid grades and preserving the integrity of the examinations involved the administration of Paper 1 (Multiple Choice Assessment), School Based Assessment, and where applicable, additional assessment components along with appropriate modelling accounting for historical data and teacher predicted information.
He said while the proposed revised administration schedule for examinations is July 2020 (results released in the 1st week of September 2020), there was need for a regional consensus considering the impact of COVID-19 and the respective national protocols.
The COHSOD also agreed to have Examinations administered via an e-Testing modality in countries that are equipped with the requisite infrastructure. However, where there were infrastructure challenges, candidates would be allowed to sit paper-based examinations.
The CXC, in collaboration with the UWI presented another proposal at the meeting in relation to requirements for CAPE applicants for 2020 admission. Their proposal to accept CAPE Unit 1 plus previous results to serve as matriculation to UWI for the next academic year was accepted by the Council.
The Council adopted Public Health Guidelines for the reopening of schools, as proposed in the report from Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Dr. Joy St. John.
The report from CARPHA included initial guidance on the development of protocols for re-opening of schools in the response, recovery, and resilience phases of the crisis by the Education sector. She also spoke to the need for mental health considerations during a Public Health crisis. Dr. St. John reminded the COHSOD of the complexities of the education system in Member States and the challenges for social distancing.
Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago registered concerns regarding the decisions in relation to the date and modification of the CXC examinations, however, the CXC indicated that further bilateral discussions in relation to special considerations could be explored. The Caribbean Union of Teachers also raised concerns regarding the health and safety of stakeholders.