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Registrar of CXC Dr Wayne Wesley

Anna-Lisa Paul

The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has agreed to a two-week postponement of this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam (CAPE), and the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC) exams– which will now begin on June 28.

During a virtual media briefing yesterday, CXC’s chief executive officer and registrar Dr Wayne Wesley confirmed that all papers will remain unchanged and will be administered in their original formats with Paper 1, Paper 2, and the School-based Assessment; along with a Paper3/2 for private candidates.

And while the two-week delay will attract an undisclosed marginal cost which CXC is absorbing at this time, he has assured the results of these examinations will be made available in the last week of September and the first week of October.

In addition, CXC has also agreed to extend the deadline for the submission of all SBA’s for CSEC and CAPE to June 30.

Meanwhile, a review of the broad topics shared by CXC for the Paper 2 exams will be shared by May 28; while the deadline to defer the sitting of examinations to 2022 has been extended to May 31st, 2021.

Wesley said CXC had decided on the delay following regional consultations with governments, students and educational stakeholders who had raised concerns relating to the COVID-19 pandemic which was surging in some islands including T&T where a State of Emergency (SOE) had been implemented, in SVG where the volcano had disrupted schooling, and in Barbados where the ash fall continued to affect the island.

Regarding results, he assured, “It is important to note that further consideration will be given during the grading process to account for the likely psyhco-social impact on students’ performance to ensure that they are not disenfranchised.”

Wesley said the decisions were taken to preserve the integrity of the exams, as well as ensure equity and fairness for all candidates while simultaneously assuring the continued health and well-being of all involved.

CXC’s chairman, Prof Sir Hilary Beckles said they met with regional stakeholders in a last meeting on Tuesday to hear from stakeholders once more as they sought to arrive at a “oneness.”

He said while the majority of territories were ready to proceed with the exams, they understood the need for concessions.

He added that some islands had requested a longer delay but to agree to that, would have led to further issues arising.

During the Q&A, Wesley said some countries had already indicated their intention to conduct e-testing and that CXC was encouraging this as far as possible to reduce classroom interactions.

Forced to defend CXC against accusations that it remained tone-deaf to the requests coming out of some Member States for longer postponements and exam changes, Beckles said, “In the search for practicality and compromise, we never get 100 per cent. No one group of people get 100 per cent but the point is where we have reached now, having heard the teachers, having heard the students, I think no one is tone deaf because we have heard them and CXC took all that information on board.”

Confronted about contingency plans if various situations in some of the islands worsen within the next two weeks, Beckles is hoping this does not materialise as he spoke of the stresses currently being faced by students and educators.

He said, “We are all hoping there are no additional shots coming our way but we know that in the Republic of T&T, the steps they have taken to manage this and listening to the Minister and Permanent Secretaries, they are on top of things and they have clarity.”

Asked about the number of deferrals so far received, Wesley said 13,655 CSEC students and 1,090 CAPE students have so far applied for deferrals.