Education Minister Anthony Garcia says he is not bothered by threats from education stakeholders who have indicated their willingness to seek legal assistance to stop the administration of the CSEC and CAPE exams from proceeding as planned in July.
On Tuesday, both the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) and the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA) called for the Ministry of Education to postpone/suspend the exams.
NPTA’s acting president Clarence Mendoza indicated they were particularly concerned about the psychological health of the students who would be writing the Caribbean Secondary Entrance Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) as they had been silently suffering.
TTUTA and NPTA agreed that more time was needed for students to complete the School-Based Assessments (SBA’s) and Internal Assessments (IA’s) – which are to be used by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) to determine the student’s final grade.
During a brief telephone interview, Garcia said, “Any decision to change the date of the exams, could only be taken after thorough consultation among all participating governments of the region.”
Garcia said the announcement on May 8 by the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) to support CXC in its’ decision to administer the exams in July, “Could only be changed if a meeting is called by COHSOD and Caricom, and until that happens, we are bound by the decision because that is the democratic process and we have to abide by that.”
Referring to the threat of legal action by Mendoza on behalf of parents, Garcia said, “It is strictly within his rights as a private citizen of T&T.”
“The Constitution of T&T guarantees certain fundamental rights to citizens of this country.”
Garcia once again extended an invitation to all education stakeholders to discuss issues affecting the nation’s students as he said, “Our doors are always open and we are always willing to engage in consultation with all stakeholders, and the views expressed by them will always be given consideration because we recognise that if education is to move forward, we need the active involvement of all our stakeholders.”
In a release on May 18, the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) said it was deeply concerned about the decision taken by COHSOD – which was contrary to the recommended position of the CUT for the sitting to be held in September.