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Union Raises Concerns As Exams Get Underway

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE first day of the sitting of the national BJC and BGCSE exams had some challenges, according to Bahamas Union of Teachers president Belinda Wilson. The exams are controversially being held later than usual this year because of COVID-19 after months of school closures forced students to learn virtually. 

Mrs Wilson said she was informed that ministry officials were late to some schools; that some exams started late at least at one centre; that there was “little to no social distancing and that workers were seen not wearing masks”; that students’ desks were not six feet apart and that classrooms were not cleaned.

She said she was also told that some invigilators were informed on Sunday that they would not be used, that some of them were not trained and did not have their schedules, that some students did not have their timetables while others did not show up for their exams, that student participation was low and that 50 percent of the people who volunteered to assist were not used.

“It is no surprise because Ministry of Education officials have difficulty implementing procedures under normal circumstances,” she said. “When education officials ignore common sense recommendations and best practices that have been tried and provided before in the Bahamas and other jurisdictions then what can be expected? I just hope for the sake of our nation’s youth that the Ministry of Education gets its act together and review the mistakes of day one and improve (today) and the days and weeks ahead.”

She said questions remain about the reliability, validity and integrity of the exams because of these reasons and because of the absence of Cambridge University’s involvement and the role that institution plays in inspecting exam centres and providing oversight.

Last month, more than 8,000 students and parents across the country signed an online petition calling for the cancellation of the national exams.

In response, Education Minister Jeff Lloyd stressed that the exams are voluntary, adding that it is the “social, intellectual and legal responsibility” of the ministry to make sure students can take the exams if they want to.

Students taking the national exam must wear school uniforms, bring a government issued picture ID or a school photo ID, wear masks properly when entering the campuses and sanitise their hands at the entrance and get a temperature reading, according to education officials. 

Comments

Sickened 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Lol! Not surprised at all. Everything about our 'education' system is pathetic and half-assed.

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moncurcool 3 weeks, 6 days ago

This from a "so called leader" who wanted to cancel exams that students should have been studying for. Obviously would expect her to come up with every complaint in the book. Interesting though how CXC exams are going ahead within the rest of the Caribbean.

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JokeyJack 3 weeks, 6 days ago

We can safely predict a "D average" (as always) due to the presence of the letter "E" in the grading system. Why not add two more letters and make the average an "F" ???? If "D" is acceptable, why not "F" ? Can we think of some other ways we can break the morale of our youth? Can we think of some other creative ways we can destroy our future?

With the stroke of a pen this grading system could be changed. Why is it not? What is the true reason that a "D'" average is forced upon our youth? Is it to ensure we have enough people to clean hotel rooms?

The whole world grades A, B, C, D, F.
C is in the middle - thus "Average". Why do we have to be different and stupid? The idea of "independence" has gone to our heads to our own detriment.

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