This year’s CXC examinations should be deferred until 2022 and fifth and sixth formers should be allowed to come back to school for an additional year.
That is the suggestion being put forward by the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU), with its president Mary Redman contending that both students and teachers have lost too much time due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recommendation has come just days after president of the Barbados Union of Teachers’ (BUT), Pedro Shepherd called for this year’s Common Entrance Examination to be scrapped.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Redman said because of the delays caused by the pandemic, which included the switch to virtual classes, teachers had been unable to complete the syllabus.
She contended it would put students at a serious disadvantage if the examinations were held as normal in May/June or even if they were postponed for a month or two.
“Really and truly it is not really up to CXC (Caribbean Examinations Council) to make that decision about pushing back exams. They are an examining body so their business is to have exams. It is for the regional governments to decide, looking at the reality of the COVID situation in their respective countries and recognizing the impact that it has had negatively on the ability of teachers to properly instruct syllabi,” Redman pointed out.
“In the BSTU, our position is that they should really seek to defer exams this year. The reality is that children who are presently in fifth form, last year only had two terms of teaching because the last term would have been online and it was a term of revision and consolidation. Because of the digital divide, we had teachers and students without devices or others without connectivity and therefore they were not able to benefit in the way that they should.
“And we’ve come into this school year now where we lost teaching time last term, we’ve already lost two weeks this term, we don’t know exactly how the rest of this term is going to play out, so children and teachers have lost the opportunity to be where they would normally be at this time in relation to syllabus completion,” Redman added.
She said the 2020 CXC ‘fiasco”, which led to exam grades being reviewed following complaints around the region, had also resulted in a loss of time for some students.
Redman explained that if exams were pushed back it would only be fair that students get another opportunity to sit whenever they were held.
She said this meant schools should allow those students to return the following year.
“The union’s position is that students who are doing the exams at CSEC and CAPE level be allowed to repeat a year to more fairly prepare them to be successful in their exams,” Redman said.