Failing grade

Jones laments absenteeism from CXC exams

As many as 300 Barbadian students failed to sit 1,365 subject entries in this year’s Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) examinations, prompting Minister of Education Ronald Jones to complain that the education system was “leaking too many of our children”.

Jones delivered the feature address at the official release of the May/June 2015 CXC results at the council’s Pine, St Michael headquarters this morning at which he suggested that this level of absenteeism was a waste of public funds.

Education Minister Ronald Jones receives  a copy of results  from CXC Registrar Glenroy Cumberbatch.
Education Minister Ronald Jones receives
a copy of results from CXC Registrar Glenroy Cumberbatch.

“I am concerned . . . when I see that some 1,365 subject entries were not taken by our students.  They are paid for and CXC does not refund, and therefore that is a challenge . . . 1,365 is a little too many within the numbers that we do send forward,” the Minister contended.

He said there might have been several reasons for the number of students who failed to appear for the exams, including illness and cold feet. But whatever the reasons, he said, the country’s overall performance was impacted by the high rate of absenteeism.

“When you have 1,365 subject entries not being done out of 24,000 plus, that is a percentage impact. So we have to encourage our children that if they are entering . . . that they are clear in their minds that they are actually going to do the discipline, the subject that they entered for. But it is a concern.”

The Minister of Education also challenged the region to get more pupils writing the CXC examinations, warning that if the system continued “leaking” students there could be a rise in social problems, including crime and “other disruptive behaviours.

“We need to get more students doing our exams in the region. We know the numbers that go into all of our schools in the region. Therefore the number of subject entries is still not enough. It means that the system is leaking too may of our children.  And eventually that leakage is going to cause a flood of further despair within the region.”   

Jones also challenged teachers, particularly principals, to “partner” with their students as a means of influencing change in their lives, declaring that teachers needed to teach and not lecture.

“There is too much down time in our classrooms everyday. We need more up time for our children’s sake,” said Jones, a former teacher.

The examination results were released by CXC’s Senior Assistant Registrar Dr Charles Mayenga, who described Barbados’ overall performance in this year’s Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) as commendable.

Dr Mayenga reported that this country attained 90 per cent in 39 of the 56 units and 75 per cent in 46 units. The results also revealed that Barbados performed better than the rest of the region in 29 units.

6 Responses to Failing grade

  1. Sue Donym August 15, 2015 at 10:24 am

    So what’s costing more – losing the children to the streets and ultimately to prison or the UWI fees?
    Might there be a link between the lack of ambition and the loss of opportunity? Not at all suggesting justification but exploring cause and effect.

    There are lots of youngsters feeling hopeless because they no longer have that option of going to UWI, because they CAN’T afford it (unemployment, non-receipt of tax refunds and/or unemployment benefits, inability to access loans etc.) Some of them are bright children who have become disillusioned and feel betrayed that they do not have the ability to close the gap between the haves and the have nots.

    Do not be fooled that it is only certain schools or children from certain neighbourhoods. The fear of deprivation is real and has serious long term and far reaching effects.

    • Kevin August 15, 2015 at 11:53 am

      Nice try. CXC exams free. What tax rerurns and unemployment got to do with students not taking exams. Stop making silly excuses for non-ambitious, non-disciplined children. When I was at school, the very few students who opted not to do exams did so because they were totally unprepared or seriously ill.

      • Samuel Morrison August 15, 2015 at 1:47 pm

        Thank you. The stupid expressions of Sue Dumb have no relationship with what is before us and what was stated by the minister. None of those who absent themselves were destined for UWI. Stop the rubbish politics and bring to bear sensible suggestions. No one can drink from an empty barrel. Those who do not wish to attend UWI do so not because They are shut out. The government still pays 80% of the costs. Most of their studies are paid for by the taxpayers. We are breeding a generation of selfish persons, many who do not make a direct contribution to their own welfare, but simply take and take. Miss Sue Dumb seems to be of that ilk.

        • Sue Donym August 15, 2015 at 6:40 pm

          @ Samuel Morrison. Your name calling does not faze me. While not making excuses for laziness, I can make the point that there are valid FINANCIAL reasons why many people are unable to afford UWI education. Try to stay with me here. Are you aware that absence from an exam can have reasons ranging from illness to having done the exam privately and not having a system to rescind entry after registration? Not sure how you are able to conclude that every entry not submitting to an exam was someone not “destined for UWI”. Unless of course they are all your family members. That I would understand.

      • Sue Donym August 15, 2015 at 6:29 pm

        Perhaps try reading the comment next time. The reference to financing was re the UWI education. The point was that many students are now unmotivated because they feel they are facing a dead end: few job opportunities and no affordable further education to prepare them for a better job. You do not see political motives in my comment because I am unaffiliated.

  2. Tony Webster August 15, 2015 at 11:19 am

    general paper question: define and explain the term “percentage impact”. State whether this is a mathematical term; a linguistic component; a biblical parable; an idiom; an idiiomatic axiom; or a weak political excuse for an obvious problem which has been long festering, and words need to be continually hurled at it from TV-8, until is shambles away in shame.


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