The Caribbean Examinations Council announced recently that a portion of the CXC and CAPE papers will be done in July. Initially, Belize was uncertain if they would be participating in this year’s exams but following a meeting with the Education Minister of CARICOM, an agreement was reached. Minister Patrick Faber spoke on the agreement and what segments will apply to the students in Belize.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture: “Our viewers will remember that at the time of my press conference I think it was on April 20th we announced that we were in consultation with CXC and other member state of CARICOM for us to decide on which way we were going to go with CXC exams, both CAPE and CXC exams. So that meeting also dealt with the way forward. Now the way it works is for any decision to be taken we would need a two thirds majority in order for the decision to be carried and so the majority of those territories present in the meeting and I believe we had at least fifteen territories were represented , some who were not countries that engaged with the CXC exams at all but they still had some say in what we decided but what came out of it is that we were able to decide at least we garnered the two thirds majority needed in order to agree that our territory will proceed with CXC exams both CAPE and CSEC exams starting in the month of July. The exams will begin in the week straddling June – July and so the first exam will be on the last day or two of June and then the full month of July is what we’re looking at for taking the exam. At the COHSOD meeting we also decided that we would take on a modified approach to the administration of the exam. Now for the benefit of those who don’t know the way the CXCs are administered in these territories there are three papers. There is a multiple choice which is paper one normally, there are some subjects that don’t have a paper one but by and large paper one is multiple choice, paper two is a more structured answer section sometimes essays sometimes short answers whatever else you have in terms of structured questions and then there is a paper three which is known as the school based assessment which students do while they’re in school over the two year or three year period that they prepare for these examinations and what was adopted in the COHSOD meeting was that we will use a modified approach for this year since we are faced with the issues of COVID-19. That modified approach will mean that they will take into consideration by and large only paper one which is the multiple choice and the school based assessment which is paper three and they had said that in areas where they can garner more information maybe through the subject teachers in the various territories and school then that may well be incorporated as a part of the grade that is designated to the student at the end of the day.”
As it relates to the School-Based Assessment portion of the CXC, Minister Faber says that teachers may have to go into school to ensure the submission of a portion of the CXC requirements.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture: “What we agreed to is to utilize the paper one and paper three. Now the paper three which is the SBA has a component of students working in their classroom and from what I am told a good majority of that work was done by the time we cut off for COVID-19 when we cut off, much of that had already been submitted there were some students who did not but over the time I believe that can be worked and as you’ve heard me say now they now have that opportunity to get an extension so we will ensure that those students get the very best support in terms of getting in quality work for paper three so that can factor in to ensure that they get a better grade. We have up until the end of June to do that and I’m hoping that where it is possible students who still have work outstanding can make those submission and make good quality submissions. Paper one is multiple choice. Again these are things that you have to study, the preparation for CSEC does not only come up at the time you’re taking the exam it’s a two, three year course some will say from the time you enter high school. At some point we would allow fourth form students to be able to go back to the classroom in preparation for CXC and as I said these exams won’t start until July – the last week in June/July and so that gives us at least a month and a half. If things continue to develop and develop well here in Belize as it relates to our COVID-19 fight this may be a consideration that we ask the National Oversight Committee to have, to have our fourth formers then maybe two weeks from now or a month from now to go back and the teachers engage with them in those last two weeks leading up to the start of the exams or during the month of July when they still have the exams – some of them won’t come until the middle or the latter part of July – that teachers can still work with them. As it stands now we might have to ask the National Oversight Committee for some breathing room in terms of the teachers because the teachers have to submit the SBA moderation work from the school and so we may well have to ask them at some point to allow for teachers to return to the school compound in order to do this kind of work to support the students. So in terms of that that’s what we want to do to ensure that our students get a good quality grade.”