Almost a month after the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) controversial results, parents and teachers protested in front of the Red House in Port-of-Spain yesterday.
Kathy Brooks, a parent and Sixth Form teacher, said they were not happy with the response, or lack thereof, of Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly to this debacle that is not only affecting Trinidad, but the region.
She said, “I don’t think people recognise that people, living, breathing, feeling, individuals are being affected by the way things are being dragged upon and as parents we felt it was our duty that if the powers that be will not fight for our kids then that’s our job and that’s why we are here.”
She said they made several attempts to contact the minister and have also sent numerous correspondence on this issue but have received no response.
“This is a frustrated response as parents that we are not being heard and what has happened here. The results came out September 22 as of now the grade stands. Kids in Upper Six their journey, their academic journey has come to a grinding halt because they cannot go on to university because of these appalling grades that were given to them despite assurances by their teachers that they are ready to roll. When you do that you are casting aspersions on the competencies of teachers which is the backbone of CXC and I don’t think Sir Hilary recognise that yesterday in his speech.”
Saying she was not impressed by what was said at the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) press conference on Sunday, Brooks said they were no closer to understanding what transpired and how they are going to correct it.
The examination board, which has received a report from an independent review team set up to look into this issue, said they would be seeking to address thousands of grade queries from students in the region in the coming weeks.
“He pretty much threw us under the bus, that was my interpretation if l am wrong I do apologise but I felt that he threw the teachers under the bus. CXC is almost 50 years old if you are having a problem with your personnel surely, surely you should have said something many, many years ago. I have been teaching close to 30 years, at the Sixth Form level for all of that.”
As a parent and also a teacher, Brooks said she felt hurt.
“My kids who I estimated Grades Ones and who I ranked gots Fours, Threes and one failed…”
However, she said three of those four students ranked in the top 100 in Unit One a year ago.
“And you telling me somehow I don’t know what I am doing now ten months later. It certainly does not make sense…”
Brooks said they were now trying to reach out to other parents and teachers in the various regions to form a collective voice.
Lamenting that the students are traumatised, she said “It’s an abuse of process, it’s an abuse of power and then to sit on your lofty throne and use all your big words to impress me. I am not impressed.”
Contacted for a response via WhatsApp Messenger, the minister said, “I am meeting with CXC for the third time today as we seek resolution to this issue.”