THE EDITOR: Open letter to the Minister of Education.
The coronavirus has disrupted our usual academic calendar. May I humbly suggest the following:
* The SEA examination be shifted to July 2. This will allow all stakeholders to be mentally and physically prepared and yet leave adequate time for marking and release of results.
* The May/June session of CSEC and CAPE be cancelled altogether. The proposal by CXC of using the school-based assessment and internal assessment together with only Paper 1 (multiple choice) marks is a watered-down solution which will only yield undesirable results.
This is because there is the possibility that some teachers may pad these marks, along with the reality that approximately 80 per cent of multiple-choice questions are repeated from one year to the other.
Hence, the main test of ability is Paper 2 (extended or structured answers). In the absence of Paper 2, therefore, there is the risk of unrealistically high grades being awarded. This will impact on the competence of students who are to be admitted to Form Six or universities.
* The full CSEC and CAPE examinations be held in September/October, with results being released in mid-December. These should consist of the usual Papers 1 and 2 for school candidates and Paper 3 for private candidates.
* The new academic year for all local primary, secondary and tertiary institutions commence on January 4, 2021 and continue until the middle of August, being broken only by the usual public holidays and Easter vacation.
I trust that you will give these proposals due consideration and that you will convey same to your fellow Caricom Ministers of Education.
former Dean of Studies
ASJA Boys’ College