Education Tower on St Vincent Street, Port of Spain.

The Ministry of Education has refuted media reports that distinctions were awarded in the Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQ) to three absentee students of the Arima North Secondary School.

In an official statement issued today, the Ministry confirms that is conducted a thorough investigation into the matter and could find no evidence of the claims made in the media report, which it described as “fraught with inaccuracies, untruths and attempts to tarnish the name of the school”.

The Education Ministry asserts that proper procedures and protocols were followed with regard to distribution of results slips.

The full text of the Ministry’s statement follows…

The Ministry of Education has conducted a full investigation into claims by a local media house that three absentee students of the Arima North Secondary School were awarded Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQ) with distinctions. The article is fraught with inaccuracies, untruths and attempts to tarnish the name of the school, the Ministry of Education and the public’s confidence in the CVQ examinations. Contrary to the assertion in the newspaper, there are no ‘Distinctions’ awarded by CXC for CVQs. 

Candidates are awarded a Certificate of Competence if all units of the Occupational Standard are satisfactorily completed. A statement is given to students who have not completed the prescribed units in any Occupational Standard. To further dispel the inaccuracies in the article, it should be noted that there are no written exams and scripts to be marked, as the certification is competency-based and there is no theoretical section of the certification, where students are required to write an essay. 

The school’s Record of Attendance and final Achievement Sheets did not record these students as having completed any units in their originally registered CVQ areas as they were found to be absent. 

The CVQ Preliminary Results Slips were received by the school on December 20, 2021.  A thorough check was made by the Principal before distribution to students to ensure that all Pre-Slips issued were for bona fide students listed on the school’s Achievement Sheets.  It was verified that the units stated on the Pre-Slips exactly matched the actual units completed by the students on the Achievement Sheets and as audited by National Training Agency’s (NTA) external verifiers. All Pre-Slips received from CXC for this school were found to be accurate and there were no errors found in the units awarded.

The Ministry of Education assures the public that all required NTA audits and CXC quality assurance control measures were undertaken as mandated, and documents were subjected to Internal and External verification.  In this specific matter involving the Arima North Secondary School, this process was diligently followed, and all students who received their Pre-Slip certification were bona fide students. Final results and the award of certificates and statements to students who attempted Occupational Standards in 2021 CVQ are expected from CXC in the coming weeks.

The Ministry of Education is hopeful that in the future, due care and diligence is exercised by the media house prior to the publication of stories that have the potential to negatively tarnish the credibility of national and regional examination bodies.