Press conference on the Barbados Secondary School Entrance Examination and other education matter hosted by Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw. (Public Affairs Department)

Some secondary school students have opted to defer taking their Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) examinations, in the academic year 2020-2021.

This was disclosed by Deputy Chief Education Officer and Local Registrar, Dr. Roderick Rudder, during an 11-Plus Exam and General Update on Education press conference this afternoon.

Dr. Rudder said that for the first time in history, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) had made available to students the option to defer taking the CSEC and CAPE exams. 

He noted that the decision to allow deferrals was as a result of the significant challenges with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the completion of the various syllabi and the instructional losses.

He added that this provision by CXC to defer the writing of examinations has been offered to allow those students who believe that they can benefit from having the additional time to be better prepared for the January 2022 or May/June 2022 CSEC and CAPE examinations.

In Barbados, 1, 643 CSEC and 130 CAPE subject deferrals requests have been made, which represent a 10 per cent deferral in exams being taken. 

The Deputy Chief Education Officer clarified that the 10 per cent in deferrals was based on the percentage of entries and not students. 

“I just want to clarify as it relates to the deferrals and to point out that there are instances where one student may be deferring one subject, you may have another student deferring all of his subjects which could be five or six, or seven subjects, and hence the percentage to be presented would be based on the entries and not necessarily the number of students. But we are approximately at about 10 per cent of the candidates, who would have been registered, seeking to defer at this stage,” Dr. Rudder stated.

The Education Official pointed out: “While students have indicated their desire to defer the writing of their examinations at this stage, the Ministry has taken a very affirmative approach with regard to the development of a strategy to provide learning support for those students who have opted to defer, and details regarding the rollout of the learning support mechanism for students who have deferred, will be provided to principals and students and parents across the island in the coming days.”

He also stressed that the Ministry would be providing as much support as possible to those students who had deferred, to ensure that they are in no way disadvantaged going forward in their preparations for the CSEC and CAPE examinations for the academic year 2021-2022, and in their ability to be awarded scholarships or exhibitions.

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