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.
“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.