Samuda apologises, welcomes student involvement

Samuda apologises, welcomes student involvement

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Minister with responsibility for education, Karl Samuda, has apologised for any “misunderstanding” surrounding his statement about student consultation in the education process.

Addressing the House of Representatives this afternoon, Samuda said students have been present in consultations and he “welcomes their involvement”.

“There was no such intention,” Samuda said following questions that students were “disheartened and shocked” by comments he made at a press conference on Sunday which implied that students were not an essential part of the discussion to determine when they would sit Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination papers.

The National Secondary Students' Council (NSSC) said on Monday that students across the island have not only been left dismayed by the announcement of a new start date for the exams, but discouraged by Samuda's comments.

On Sunday, Samuda said that Education Ministry technocrats could not arrive at a decision for when Jamaican students would sit exams by consulting the student body that represents them.

“We are driven by a principle that once placed in a position to lead, you must lead from the top. You must lead from [the] participation [of] those who are particularly involved in setting policy and discharging policy set down by the Government of Jamaica... You could never imagine us arriving at a conclusion as to when to engage students in an examination by being guided by hundreds, and I suspect if you take it to its full extreme, over 100,000 students,” the acting education minister said.

He was responding to a concern raised that the NSSC had not been consulted by the ministry before announcing a new start date for the exams, which were initially interrupted by the new coronavirus pandemic.

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