The Education Ministry on Monday engaged teachers on the possibility of reopening schools, specifically for students who will be sitting the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) in 2021.

Education Minister Priya Manickchand and Chief Education Officer Marcel Hutson joined senior education officials to address the matter virtually. Teachers from Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and Georgetown were engaged on the subject, as preparations begin for both examinations. In fact, over 470 participants were engaged in these talks. Schools in Guyana have been closed since March of this year as a result of COVID-19. To date, COVID-19 cases in the country have surpassed 4000.
Over the course of this coming week, the Ministry’s intention is to meet with the entire cohort of teachers and parents of students writing the examinations. If so decided, students in these classes will return to school to facilitate arrangements for their respective assignments.
Classroom activity has been restricted since mid-March when Guyana started witnessing an increase in positive cases. Since then, schools have only been opened to facilitate the National Grade Six Assessment and the 2020 CSEC and CAPE exams for secondary students.
This year, the examinations were written in July and August, with a new structure, whereby only Paper One and the School-Based Assessments (SBAs) were used to grade students. This decision was made owing to the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases globally.
Despite the pandemic which resulted in major setbacks in the delivery of education across the Caribbean, the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) recorded improved performances at this year’s CSEC examinations. A total of 382,783 candidates received acceptable results of Grades One to Three.
In terms of CSEC, Examination Services Division Director of Operations, Nicole Manning said there were improved overall pass rates in several subject areas. She underscored that in CAPE, there were acceptable grades (Grades One to Four), along with some improvement in some subject areas.
CXC officials at its Headquarters in Barbados revealed that the pass rate for CSEC increased by a 3.8 per cent when compared to the previous year’s figure. When the pandemic broke out in the Caribbean, most countries had already completed the curriculum.
In September, schools remained closed and an online approach was adopted for learning. It was decided that a variety of methods was needed to address challenges of epidemiological patterns, Internet access, and availability of resources through the usage of radio, the Internet, the Learning Channel, and physical workpapers.
Manickchand had announced that authorities would continue to review and evaluate the situation amid the COVID-19 pandemic. She had pointed out that for schools to be reopened, schools and their respective administrative bodies needed proper protective gear and facilities to enable safe learning.