THE EDITOR: I commend the Ministry of Education for not running headlong into e-testing, just because CXC is requesting such a step. Before CXC asks the Caribbean territories which use its service to take such a step, the examination body should put its own house in order.
Those of us who have been markers with CXC can vouch for the efficiency of the table markers because of the numerous checks and balances involved. Since CXC has moved on to e-marking the exercise has not gone smoothly and there are many teething problems to solve before the users of this service can be satisfied with it.
The public must have noted the confusion with examination results, which some members of the public without knowledge of the process were quite eager to heap at the doorsteps of the minister. What many people did not realise was that a few days before the results were due to be released to the public, marking was not completed due to inefficiencies in the e-marking process.
Education Minister Anthony Garcia and his ministry will do well to hold their hands on committing the students under their care to an e-marking system without the relevant infrastructure in place.
There are reasons why not one Caribbean country has yet embraced this e-marking dynamic. There is a great deal of physical infrastructure that has to be set up first, including a reliable Internet service and knowledgeable technicians, teachers and administrators.
I acknowledge that e-testing is the way to go in the future but not without the system being ready to handle it. With these perilous economic times on our doorstep it may take longer than CXC would like but there is wisdom in waiting while the system gets ready as fast as it possibly can.
Garcia has once again shown why it is important to have as a Minister of Education a person well versed in the education system. That way the country avoids hasty decisions which will do greater harm than good if it is hurried. Good going, sir. Keep up the good work.