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TTUTA president Antonia Tekah-De Freitas.

BOBIE-LEE DIXON

[email protected]

As the deadline for submission of queries and review requests inches up, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA), Antonia Tekah-De Freitas suggests the Government should ‘follow the leader’ and bear the cost of Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) script reviews.

De Freitas made the proposition yesterday in an interview with Guardian Media while responding to the question on whether this country should engage the same initiative taken by the Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley who assured students on Sunday night during a political meeting, that her Government would stand the cost to have the July 2020 CXC scripts reviewed.

“It is something to be considered cause at the end of the day what happens when you review —you are simply looking over the paper to make sure everything was corrected—the remarking of the paper, which is what many students are asking for,” Tekah- De Freitas said.

She added, “The fact of the matter is, since the format of the exam was modified, CXC should absorb the cost. And, therefore, the state should pay or CXC should not charge a cost for the remarking of the papers.”

Tekah-De Freitas said the association was due to have discussions with the ministry on the findings of the recent report.

Following thousands of reports region-wide, on Sunday during a virtual conference, CXC Registrar Dr Wayne Wesley revealed highlights of a draft report recently composed by an independent review team.

In considering its findings, Wesley said the examination entity would embark on addressing the thousands of reports by students on the issue of reviews and queries.

Candidates seeking reviews went from 0.13 per cent last year to 0.45 per cent this year, while those in the ‘queries’ category moved from 0.13 per cent last year to 0.28 per cent this year.

Speaking to this matter, Tekah-De Freitas said in some instances, there were entire classrooms of students who received ungraded as part of their feedback.

“We had incidents where the profile of the grade did not match the grade awarded. So, for example, you had someone get a grade five in a particular area, but the profile read all A’s,” she related.

Tekah-De Freitas said this year, given the fact that complaints and queries were so widespread across the region and T&T, her association was still concerned that some students did the examination under tremendous psychological pressure.

Responding to the delay in examination results for students who participated in exams for vocational studies, the TTUTA boss said, “When we spoke earlier in the year about postponing the examination to a later date, we were not only looking for a way for students and teachers to get off and to have more time, but we saw some levels of disorganisation out of the mechanisms that CXC had and we are seeing the results of it now.”

Students across the region, including in T&T, have staged protests in light of the situation. They stand to pay the US$15 cost and submit all queries and review request before the deadline date on October 23.

Tekah-De Freitas said her association is hoping for a speedy resolution on the matter.

“It means there are things we have to discuss with the Minister of Education to ensure better quality assurance, and to maintain the integrity of our exam results, as we go forward.”

Education Ministry responds

Meanwhile, a release from the Ministry of Education yesterday following a three-hour-long meeting with CXC, seemed to suggest TTUTA and the Ministry of Education were on the same page.

It said all Education Ministers present at the meeting made a collective proposal that a total waiver of fees for reviews should be considered by CXC for 2020.

The release said the Council would be approached tomorrow on this suggestion to examine the conclusion of this.

In response to findings by the Independent Review Committee, the release also revealed five key reevaluations and modifications were to be implemented with immediate effect.

It said Education Ministers from Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua and Guyana, recommended an extension of the existing October 23 deadline for submission of queries and review requests by students.

Instruction was also given for a reversion to the pre-January 2018 position and practice where a review included a remark—not just a recalculation of the candidate’s score.