JM | Jun 9, 2021

Education Ministry unconcerned despite possible student deferral spacing nightmare

Juanique Tennant

Juanique Tennant / Our Today

Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Fayval Williams

In keeping with several relief measures implemented by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) to guide the sitting of 2021 exit examinations, Education Minister Fayval Williams is reporting that over 6,000 students will defer from participation in this year’s sitting.

According to Williams, who spoke during a post-Cabinet press briefing held earlier today (June 9), 5,987 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) students and 292 Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) students have opted to defer from this year’s exam sitting.

Despite the deferral numbers, in answer to a question posed by Our Today regarding the ministry’s concern about foreseeable spacing issues in the upcoming academic year, Williams responded: “Well no…we believe that those numbers are manageable…we believe the number of students who have deferred can be absorbed in their current schools”.

Williams also noted that the ministry would be making contact in short order with these students, to “let them know exactly what the position is. We want to give them some certainty about the upcoming school year…in terms of the placement in the schools in which they are currently…”.

She continued: “In short order, we will come out with that information but…we believe those numbers are manageable let me put it in a positive way…we believe that they can be absorbed in their current school.”

Though Williams was unconcerned about any future spacing nightmares for schools of the deferred students, in a follow-up interview between Our Today and the principal of the York Castle High school in St. Ann, Raymon Treasure it became apparent that the minister’s sentiments were not shared by other stakeholders within the education sector.

Treasure, who had previously indicated on Tuesday (May 11) that, of his 500-student cohort, only three students had made deferral requests noted then that options were being explored to have students transition to the nearby Brown’s Town Community and Moneague colleges in the event that the number of deferrals continued to rise.

Principal of York Castle High School, Raymon Treasure

In the follow-up, Treasure expressed that while the final number of deferral requests still stands at three, were this number to reflect a larger amount, for argument’s sake 100, there would be no way the school would be able to accommodate that many students.

Given this, Treasure stated that though the ministry’s position may sound reasonable in theory if schools are met with large deferral numbers then securing spaces for these students at their current schools in the upcoming academic year will not be possible.

All things considered, the principal recommended that the ministry reach out to community colleges and other private institutions which would be better able to accommodate these students and pay them for placements.



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