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GEORGETOWN, Guyana — The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) held its 45th meeting in Georgetown, Guyana, last Friday and the meeting of the school committee (SEC) on Thursday under the chairmanship of Professor Nigel Harris, vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies.
The opening ceremony for Council and presentation of awards for outstanding performances in the May/June 2013 Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations was hosted at the National Cultural Centre in Georgetown on Thursday.
Donald Ramotar, president of Guyana, delivered the feature address at the ceremony. Ramotar said Guyana is very proud of the performance of its students in the CSEC examination. He referenced the fact that five of the eight CSEC awardees were from schools in Guyana.
The president noted that CXC is one of the better expressions of regional integration and called on regional governments to make the Caribbean Court of Appeal their final appellate court.
“We need to build our own institutions,” Ramotar stated, adding that, in some cases, persons have to apply for a visitor’s visa to go to the Privy Council.
Dr Didacus Jules, registrar of the Caribbean Examinations Council, in delivering his remarks, said CXC has established itself as the recognized benchmark of educational accomplishment at secondary and post secondary levels in the last 40 years.
“We have played a major role in the harmonization of the standards and content of secondary education. But what we have achieved at the secondary level has also obscured other essential dimensions of the original vision,” Jules stated.
The registrar stated that the achievements of the regional top awardees reaffirm the intellectual and academic capability of the youth of the Caribbean.
Regional Top Awards
During the ceremony held on Thursday night, students from three Caribbean countries – Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago – received awards for outstanding performances in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).
Students from schools in Guyana dominated the Regional Top Awards for outstanding performances at the CSEC, while students from Trinidad and Tobago continued their dominance of awards for outstanding performances at the CAPE.
Five of the eight awards for CSEC went to students from Guyana, while nine of the ten awards for CAPE went to students from Trinidad and Tobago.
Yogeeta Persaud of Anna Regina Secondary School captured the award for the Most Outstanding Candidate Overall in the Region in 2013. Yogeeta wrote 18 subjects and achieved Grade I in all 18 subjects: agricultural science (DA), biology, chemistry, English A, English B, home economic management, information technology, integrated science, mathematics, office administration, physics, principles of business, social studies, Spanish, electronic document preparation and management, physical education and sport, human and social biology, and electrical and electronic technology.
Another student from Anna Regina Secondary School, Zimeena Rasheed, received the award for the Most Outstanding Candidate in Technical/Vocational Education. Zimeena offered 20 subjects and achieved Grade I in 18 subjects – agricultural science (DA), biology, chemistry, English A, English B, food and nutrition, home economic management, information technology, integrated science, mathematics, office administration, physics, principles of business, social studies, and technical drawing; and Grade II in two subjects – Caribbean history and Spanish.
Two students from Queen’s College, Guyana, Cecil Cox and Sasha Woodroffe copped the Sciences and Business Studies awards respectively. Cecil achieved Grade I in 16 subjects – additional mathematics, agricultural science (DA), biology, chemistry, English A, English B, geography, information technology, integrated science, mathematics, office administration, physics, social studies, Spanish, electronic document preparation and management, human and social biology.
Sasha achieved Grade I in 14 subjects – additional mathematics, economics, English A, English B, French, geography, information technology, integrated science, mathematics, office administration, principles of accounts, principles of business, Spanish, electronic document preparation and management.
Rafena Mustapha of Saraswati Vidya Niketan, Guyana, won the award for Most Outstanding Candidate in the Humanities, with Grade I in 15 subjects. Rafena offered the following subjects: Caribbean history, economics, English A, English B, electronic document preparation and management, geography, human and social biology, information technology, integrated science, mathematics, office administration, principles of accounts, principles of business, social studies, Spanish.
Two students from Trinidad and Tobago, Nathaniel Adiah of Presentation College (Chaguanas) and Aimee De Montbrun of the Holy Name Convent (Port of Spain) were the winners of the Best Short Story and Best 2-Dimensional Work in Visual Arts respectively. Nathaniel’s story was based on a photograph depicting a woman in the foreground with clenched hands, and a look of despair, and fire fighters in the background battling a fire.
Aimee’s piece is a portrait from the drawing expressive form showing a lady with her head, face and neck draped in fabric.
Ranolyn Hunt of St Mary’s College, Jamaica, won the award for the Best 3-Dimensional Work in the Visual Arts examination. Ranolyn’s work is an elaborate necklace designed for a fashion show and uses macramé technique. It was done in the fibre and decorative arts expressive form.
Lalljeet Ruplall, principal of Anna Regina Secondary School, was presented with the 2013 CSEC School of the Year Award in recognition of being the school with the Most Outstanding Candidate Overall.
Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE)
Dea Thomas, a student of Ardenne High School in Jamaica, received the 2013 Dennis Irvine Award, the symbol of academic excellence at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).
Dea is the first Jamaica student to capture the coveted Dennis Irvine Award since it was introduced in 2006. She achieved Grade I in 12 units: applied mathematics units 1 and 2, biology units 1 and 2, Caribbean Studies, chemistry units 1 and 2, communication studies, physics units 1 and 2 and pure mathematics units 1 and 2.
Another Jamaican student, Tasanique Henry of Hampton High School, was the winner of the Humanities award. Tasanique achieved Grade I in eight Units: Caribbean studies, communication studies, history units 1 and 2, law units 1 and 2 and sociology units 1 and 2.
Tasanique also became the first recipient of the CXC/Pearson Humanities Award. Sheena Daley, Caribbean regional director for Pearson presented Tasanique with a plaque and cheque for US$1,000. The award also includes a two-week internship with Pearson Caribbean team.
The Hampton High School student is also the 2013 winner of the Eric Williams CAPE History prize and will be awarded with this award at an event to be organized by the Eric Williams Memorial Collection.
The remaining awards went to students from schools in Trinidad and Tobago. Two students from St Joseph’s Convent (San Fernando) were among the awardees: Maryam Archie copped the Mathematics award and Elise Francis the Technical Studies award.
Maryam achieved Grade I in 10 units – applied mathematics units 1 and 2, Caribbean studies, chemistry units 1 and 2, communication studies, physics units 1 and 2, and pure mathematics units 1 and 2.
Elise achieved Grade I in eight units: art and design unit 1, Caribbean studies, communication studies, chemistry unit 2, physics units 1 and 2, pure mathematics units 1 and 2, and grade ii in art and design unit 2 and chemistry unit 1.
Shelemiah Peterkin of St Joseph’s Convent (St Joseph) received the Business Studies Award with Grade I in eight units: accounting units 1 and 2, Caribbean studies, communication studies, economics units 1 and 2, and management of business units 1 and 2.
Two students were awarded for outstanding performance in Modern Languages: Zakiyah Ali of St Joseph’s Convent (Port of Spain) and Brendan Hatch of Fatima College. Both Zakiyah and Brendan achieved Grade I in eight units with identical scores.
Zakiyah achieved Grade I in Caribbean studies, communication studies, French units 1 and 2, geography units 1 and 2, and Spanish units 1 and 2.
Brendan achieved Grade I in Caribbean studies, chemistry units 1 and 2, communication studies, French units 1 and 2, and Spanish units 1 and 2.
Stephen Prince of Hillview College took the Information and Communication Technology award with Grade I in 10 units – applied mathematics units 1 and 2, Caribbean studies, communication studies, computer science units 1 and 2, physics units 1 and 2, pure mathematics units 1 and 2.
Ronan Narine of North Eastern College won the Environmental Science award with Grade I in eight units – biology units 1 and 2, Caribbean studies, communication studies, environmental science units 1 and 2, and geography units 1 and 2
Jean-luc Duval of St Mary’s College, Trinidad and Tobago took the Natural Science award with Grade I in nine units: biology units 1 and 2, Caribbean Studies, chemistry units 1 and 2, communication studies, physics units 1 and 2 and pure mathematics unit 1.
Nadine Molloy, principal of Ardenne High School, Jamaica, was presented with the CAPE School of the Year award in recognition of the school with Most Outstanding Candidate in the 2013 examination.
While in Guyana, the awardees and a CXC delegation paid courtesy calls on President Ramotar; Samuel Hinds, prime minister of Guyana; Priya Manickchand, minister of education; and Brigadier (retired) David Granger, MP, leader of the opposition and members of the Parliamentary opposition.
“You are the future of the Caribbean,” Ramotar told the awardees while hosting them on the courtesy call. “Your achievement is outstanding, but see it as the beginning and a good platform on which to build.”
Manickchand told the students the region is very proud of their accomplishments. The minister said the students that in another ten years they will contribute to the region with their gifts. “You will contribute to the region wherever you go; you gifts must be used to make the people around you better – be it in the area of science, arts, business or technology.”
The leader of the opposition welcomed the awardees and CXC delegation to Guyana and noted that education is very important to the partnership’s agenda.
Granger expressed concern about the drop-out rates among some students and the high crime rate among young people.
CXC Strategic Priorities 2014 – 2020
Council received the 2013 Annual Report presented by Dr Jules. Jules highlighted the major achievements over the last first years of the Council’s transformation agenda. These he highlighted as the construction of a new headquarters building in Barbados, the introduction of new-generation CAPE subjects and CXC becoming an IT-Intelligent organization.
With respect to the new CXC headquarters, Jules said the keys to the new building will be handed over to CXC at the end of December 2013. He expressed the Council’s deep appreciation and gratitude to the government of Barbados for delivering on its promise to construct a new headquarters.
Looking towards 2014-2020 strategic plan, the registrar said the Council will concentrate on three strategic objectives: strengthening the CXC business model, securing financial stability and delivering an enhanced Stakeholder experience.
Report on the Administration of Examinations
Both Council and the School Examinations Committee heard that there were declines in the number of subject entries and candidate entries for both January and May/June CSEC sittings. In both instances the decline was just under five per cent.
This year 149,311 candidates registered for CSEC May/June examinations, compared with 156,970 candidates in 2012.
Subject entries fell by just over 19,000 when compared with last year: 616,346 subject entries were submitted this year, compared with 635,498 last year.
For the January sitting, 25,364 candidates registered for the examinations compared with 27,745 in 2012, while for subject entries stood at 59,364, down from 64,368 in 2012.
The candidate entries and subject entries for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) increased when compared with 2012.
The number of candidates entered for CAPE stood at 28, 228, an increase of 185 candidates compared with 2012. The number of unit entries submitted increased marginally; this year 109,659 unit entries were submitted compared with 108,379 last year, an increase of 1,280 entries.
The meeting of SEC noted that the syllabuses for CAPE agricultural science, performing arts, tourism, and entrepreneurship were completed and approved by SUBSEC for teaching starting in September 2014 and first examination in May/June 2015. The digital media syllabus was completed and approved for teaching in September 2013 and first paperless examination in May/June 2014.
SEC noted that the syllabus for CAPE physical education and sport was under review and would be submitted for SUBSEC’s approval at its next meeting.
SEC was informed that SUBSEC approved the development of a syllabus for animation and game design for CAPE.
CCSLC Initiative for Private Candidates
Two changes were effected to the administration of the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC) during 2013: the award of individual subject certificate as well as grouped subjects certificate, and offering the programme to out-of-school candidates.
The out-of-school candidates would register in education institutions approved as CXC examination centres. These centres would follow the same procedures and processes as schools.
The meeting was updated on the process involved in e-marking. Eleven papers in seven subjects would be e-marked in CSEC May/June 2014 sitting, while 22 papers will be e-marked in CSEC January 2015 sitting and 24 papers in May-June 2016. SEC was advised that teachers would be trained to engage in e-marking.
SEC noted that the quality of the e-marking would be monitored using the same process as table marking which involved chief examiners, table leaders and examiners.
SEC also noted that a cost benefit evaluation on the e-marking was conducted which looked at the payback period as well as net present value. In each case, over the next 2 – 3 years, the Council would recover funds invested and possibly realize savings in those particular areas
The Council approved the budget for 2014 which provides for projected revenue of 50.5 million Barbados dollars and total expenditure of 50.3 million Barbados dollars. The budget provides for key areas such as syllabus development and maintenance, examinations preparation and administration, business development, technology renewal, human resource management, research and development and marketing and stakeholder relationship management.
Council recorded its sincerest appreciation to the government and people of Guyana and the ministry of education in particular for hosting the meeting and their warm hospitality shown to delegates while in Guyana.
Council is especially appreciative of President Donald Ramotar, who hosted the regional top awardees for a courtesy call and delivered the feature address at the opening of Council.