Youth leaders say their majority was not consulted about sitting exams in meeting with state minister

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Youth leaders say their majority was not consulted about sitting exams in meeting with state minister

Sunday, May 24, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Jamaica's youth leaders say the concerns of the majority of the national secondary student population were not taken into consideration when the decision was made to have students sit the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) examinations in July.

Speaking during a recent digital meeting with Minister of State in the Ministry of Education Youth and Information (MOEYI), AlandoTerrelonge, youth leaders again expressed their disapproval about not being consulted in thedecision makingprocess.

Jadon Hewitt andKubiWalters, representing the National Secondary Students Council (NSSC) and JamaicaPrefects' Association (JPA) respectively, said most students were not prepared to take the exams as respective syllabi remained incomplete in some schools across the island.

The student leaders also said they disagreed with the position taken by principals that students and teachers were 90-95 per cent ready for the exams.

They noted that during the lockdown and online learning scenario, “teachers and academic resources were hardly accessible, due to a number of reasons, internet connectivity chief among them.”

“Your best interest will always be safeguarded as a priority, and this extends not just to your physical health and wellbeing, but also your mental health. The Government will never allow you to sit exams in situations where you are put at risk of infection. We are thinking about the full logistics – this includes sanitisation centres at schools, tanks where needed for adequate water supply, temperature checks for students and teachers, health protocols for students with special requirements in terms of illness or disability, protocols in the event someone gets ill…. It is all being thought through,”Terrelongetold the group during their virtual meeting.

He also commended them for their advocacy and for highlightingissues such as the potential problems facing students who board, private candidates, and schools plagued with water issues.

“Notwithstanding the views of your principals and the Caribbean Examination Council, I have taken your concerns and objections on board. My contention has always been that the quality of your education should never be compromised because of situations out of your control. I will continue my discussions with our Permanent Secretary and Chief Education Officer, who sit on the CXC board, to advocate that themarking of your exam papers exclude material on respective syllabi that students feel was not adequately delivered due to the shutdown and resort to online learning,”Terrelongeadded.

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