CXC Reverses Decision to Suspend Examination Subjects

GEORGETOWN, Guyana - The Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is reported to have indicated that it will not proceed with the suspension of four examination subjects following a wave of public concern and discussions with regional education ministers.

ccxexamaThe subjects initially considered for suspension were Agricultural Science (Double Award), Mechanical Engineering Technology (CSEC), Green Engineering, and Electrical and Electronic Engineering (CAPE).

A statement issued by the Ministry of Education here, said that CXC Registrar and chief executive officer, Dr. Wayne Wesley, made the announcement on Tuesday, quoting him as saying that the CXC has rolled out a menu of new generation technology and science programmes, and while some are not yet at the desired demand, governments and the council will partner to build demand for the newly added programs.

The statement said several newly introduced programmes include Entrepreneurship, Performing Arts, Physical Education and Sport, Tourism, Animation and Game Design, Logistics and Supply Chain Operations, Digital Media and Financial Services.

“Accordingly, today’s deliberations with the Ministers of Education reinforce the need for a collective regional marketing thrust to promote the priority subject areas in STEM education and climate smart agriculture which are considered critical for the economic growth and sustainable development of the region,” the statement quoteed Wesley as saying.

It said in response to the premature release of correspondence regarding the potential suspension, CXC issued a statement addressing the anxieties expressed by stakeholders. The CXC emphasized its commitment to making decisions that serve the best interests of students and educators across the Caribbean.

The statement said last week, Guyana’s Education Minister, Priya Manickchand, expressed strong opposition to the CXC’s unofficial decision to remove several technical and vocational subjects from its syllabus.

“Minister Manickchand emphasized that Guyana’s government does not support the removal of these subjects, as they are crucial for the country’s rapid growth, particularly in the oil, gas, and agriculture sectors.

“She highlighted that sustainable food investments and skills development are vital for the nation’s future, and dropping these subjects would negatively impact students’ opportunities and the local economy,” the statement said.

It said that she reiterated that Guyana would make its objections clear at the stakeholders’ meeting with CXC on Tuesday to ensure the continuation of these subjects. She also noted that if the subjects were removed, students taking the 2024 and 2025 examinations would be affected.

“The decision to revisit the potential suspension came after a meeting with Ministers of Education from the 16 participating countries, including Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos Islands.

“During this meeting, strong objections were raised, particularly by Guyana’s Education Minister Priya Manickchand, who highlighted the critical importance of these subjects to the rapid growth in sectors such as oil and agriculture in Guyana,” the statement added.

It said Manickchand pointed to the examining body’s mandate to provide the best interest of the children they serve and, in the region, as a whole.

“She pointed out that heads of government of countries in the region are constantly speaking locally and internationally of sustainable growth and being food secure and self-sustaining.

“She referenced the investments of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in the region in countries like Guyana where 6 new Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions are being established and says the decision was tone deaf to all of these realities,” the statement added.

It said Manickchand made it clear that were CXC to discontinue these subjects, her country would be forced to find other bodies who could test and certify the subjects. Other ministers of education also expressed strong reservations against the decision

“The CEO closed by stating that CXC is deeply committed to the educational and human capital development of the region and will work in partnership with all of its stakeholders to achieve its vision to advance the fortunes of the region,” according to the statement issued by the Ministry of Education.