Prof Sir Hilary Beckles, Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) chairman, has described the commitment and determination of teachers throughout the Caribbean, over the last two years, as the bedrock of the education system as the world battles the covid19 virus.
Beckles was speaking during CXC’s virtual honourary ceremony for the 16 top CAPE/CSEC performers in 2020 –nine of which are from TT.
In 2020 CXC recorded significant improvement in the pass rate throughout the Caribbean.
Beckles said a large part of this success is because of teachers who, through difficulty, found meaningful and innovative ways, going beyond the call of duty, to fill the gap in the education system left by covid19 restrictions.
“All of you teachers deserve your own awards. We celebrate you and we thank you. Continue to do the wonderful work you are doing with responsibility for the generation you have inherited.”
He also congratulated students for being resilient in the face of uncertainty and adversity. “You have persevered, you have overcome, and we look forward to your future journeys. And we know that those journeys will all be a part of building your Caribbean world and elevating levels higher than you have found it. Remain focused, remain steadfast, always recognise that while we have invested in you, you must also invest in us.”
Registrar and CXC CEO Dr Wayne Wesley said the students must be seen as an inspiration for their ability to show “true grit and perseverance in a year, that had many challenges for individuals across the region, organisations, and countries; not only in the region but across the world.
“You have shown a resilience that you may not have even known was within you. And in return, you will see the fruits of your efforts. We were heartened by last year's performance statistics.”
He said 93 per cent of the candidates achieved acceptable grades. This was an improvement when compared to CXC results in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Over those last three years, he said 90 per cent of candidates achieved grades one to five. Whereas in 2020 94.96 per cent of candidates achieved grades between one and three.
“This was an improvement over 2019 and 2018 when we saw 72.2 per cent and 70.3 per cent respectively,” Wesley said.
He said CXC is on route to a digital approach towards developing e-testing, e-marking, and e-certificates platforms along with new courses to meet the demand of the 21st century.
Antigua and Barbuda’s prime minister Gaston Browne also urged the top performers to embrace science and technology to give the Caribbean a good chance at competing on the world market post-covid19.
In his feature address, he said: “As economies within the Caribbean, if we can capture even five per cent markets, we can significantly diversify our economies and create more wealth. We all know that diversification is a must. Just think of the possibilities. These possibilities also exist in the creative arts to include our music which we should transition into an exploitable product instead of consistently investigating.