The preparation ongoing for students to write the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) is likely to see the partial reopening of schools — but just for this purpose.

This was related by Minister of Education Priya Manickchand on Monday, when a team from the ministry met, virtually, with hundreds of teachers and parents from Georgetown and Region Three respectively, to begin consultations on the way forward.

“Our purpose is to make sure that we can help the students under our care to be the best version of themselves and that their futures are secure,” Minister Manickchand remarked.
Work is currently being done at schools across the country to prepare them for an eventual reopening, including the installation of facilities necessary to guard against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Priority for school reopening is being given to students in the examination classes.

For some weeks now, teachers have been lobbying the ministry, seeking permission to return to school so that they can conduct face-to-face teaching and properly assist students with their School Based Assessments (SBAs) and Internal Assessments (IA).

A proposal that the Ministry of Education (MoE) is under active consideration. The Ministry is said to also be assessing the possibility of allowing students who are so desirous, of repeating the Fourth Form, after they received multiple requests for such.

The ministry currently has a policy that does not allow students to repeat a level, so honouring a request for students to repeat would require a policy change. Regional Education Officers are now required to send in lists with the number of students who have made requests, to further assess the situation.

Schools in Guyana have been closed since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic and teaching began virtually only in September; however, many parents believe that their children are severely affected by the learning loss and so they are not sufficiently prepared for the regional examinations.

The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), has not yet disclosed what format the 2021 exams will take, after the council had administered a modified version of its exams for 2020.
Many of the teachers believe that the virtual learning is insufficient to prepare the students in the time remaining.

According to a statement from the ministry, during Monday’s meeting, Minister Manickchand told the teachers that the engagement between the CXC and the ministry has raised issues on how Guyana will handle these two important examinations next year.

“She reminded the teachers that the two examinations are controlled by CXC and as such Guyana has to ensure it puts systems in place that allow its students to be prepared to sit the examinations,” the statement said.

As engagements continue, the ministry is expected to meet with teachers from Regions Four, Five, Six and Seven on Tuesday and Regions One, Two, Eight, Nine and 10 On Wednesday. All meetings are scheduled to begin at 10:00hrs.