The Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools (BAPPSS) is adopting a patient approach to the resumption of school and the upcoming Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exams (CAPE).
President of the Association, Stephen Jackman, the principal of the Daryll Jordan Secondary School, said that currently, BAPPSS is content to continue consultations with the Ministry of Education, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and other stakeholders on the way forward in education.
According to him, principals are eagerly awaiting the results of a “fact-finding exercise” currently being conducted by the ministry, after which, the association would be in a better position to provide a definitive perspective on the developments.
He was responding to questions about CXC’s decision to host this year’s exams from June 14 to July 16 in the traditional face-to-face format. The decision was reportedly endorsed by local authorities although students have not attended face-to-face classes since mid-December.
On one hand, parent and student advocate groups have slammed the council for potentially placing students’ lives in danger, while the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) acknowledged that delaying the exams could do more harm than good to the students.
Meanwhile, the BAPPSS president said his members were more interested in gaining clarity on the details of the syllabus and ironing out concerns relating to the school based assessments (SBA) component of the exams.
“There is an ongoing consultative process with the ministry, with the local registrar and with CXC and we are actively engaged in that process,” Jackman told Barbados TODAY.
“At the moment, the ministry is engaged in a fact-finding exercise and therefore we can’t say where we are until we have results of that exercise,” he added.
On the issue of whether students would require face-to-face instruction to properly prepare for the exams, the BAPPSS president said such decisions could only be guided by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Nevertheless, he hopes that educators will be prioritised in the country’s second wave of COVID-19 vaccinations.
“The principals’ association understands full well that given the limited number of vaccines, those people who were vulnerable had to be placed first. What we are hoping is that we can get the other doses, so that all those who need to be vaccinated and want to be vaccinated can be,” he said.
“The Ministry of Education, the principals’ association and everybody is being guided by the Ministry of Health. As soon as the Ministry of Health gives the okay, then we will be able to tell you something,” he added.
Efforts to secure a comment from Education Minister Santia Bradshaw have been unsuccessful. (KS)