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Education ministry silent on CXC debacle

Published: 
Friday, September 8, 2017

Mr Minister of Education, the matter concerning the Cape results 2017 needs your urgent attention. If you need assistance in gathering the evidence please let me know, I will be happy to help fast-track this process. If you need me to protest outside your office, I am prepared to do that too.

Sir, the irregularities continue without official word from both CXC and your ministry. In some instances, the grade slips students are receiving from schools have the changed results of August 28, while others are receiving grades with the initial lower grade of August 18 and no one can shed light on which is the correct grade. One student was sent to the Ministry of Education for clarification; the Ministry official told the parent “we doh handle that” go back to the school. School officials are helpless and can only advise parents and students to query officially.

So now this child is not sure of he has a two or a one in Economics. His parents are spending money to formally query. It may be a possibility that it is a one (which if this was confirmed they would not query) but he is now preparing to re-sit an exam he may not need to! Minister, at best this is unacceptable and warrants immediate attention.

Another parent shared with me his son’s story. Initial result ungraded. A letter from the school to CXC resulted in a grade change to a three within three days, no explanation as to why. An explanation needs to be provided. Doesn’t CXC have a system of protocols to ensure that before grades were released, they were valid? What new information emerged three days post result release to bring about the change in result? This is too arbitrary to be accepted.

What about students needing a certain grade average to enter their chosen field of study at university? If they have been victims to “undermarking” then their future aspirations are jeopardised and, moreover, the university semester has started, further emphasising the irresponsibility on the part of CXC and all other culpable agents in bringing official clarity to this entire debacle!

It’s now 20 days since the first release of results and all we have is silence. I am also disappointed in the media for not highlighting this matter with the same aggressiveness assigned (in my view) to undeserving distractions. To date the electronic media have not carried this story!

Sir, I have learnt that you are awaiting a delegation from CXC to visit Trinidad to discuss this, but you are not sure when. Mr Minister, this too, is unacceptable. This demands immediate action. As I said, I am ready to be the sole mother standing outside your office if that is required. You see, the negative impact this is having on the psyche of our young students makes me very angry.

I am not sure if you are aware, but the CXC portal is now no longer accessible to students, confirming that something has gone wrong. Again, I reiterate, this brings into disrepute the entire examination process and challenges the integrity of CXC. One would think that this would elicit immediate action on the part of CXC but it appears that CXC is a law unto itself, protected by an unbreachable wall and accountable to no one.

Sir, I have written to the Registrar of CXC and from him, too, I have received neither acknowledgement nor response. I am demanding that two of my daughter’s papers be remarked because the result does not reflect the work she put in and because I have no faith that the marking process was fair.

It is my understanding that the query process will only lead to a recounting of the marks. I cannot accept this and look to you to represent me in my request, a request I think other parents should make to ensure that all our children are not short-changed by obvious incompetence.

Mr Minister, I stand ready to assist you in this matter and am available at your convenience to meet and discuss.

INDERA SAGEWAN-ALLI

Concerned parent and citizen