Students in the Cayman Islands will sit their Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations between 1 June to 16 July, according to the Ministry of Education.

The Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) announced earlier this month, following consultation with ministries of education across the region, that this year’s CSEC oral exams will begin on 1 June, while written exams will start on 14 June.

Results are expected to be available in the last week of September.

The exams, which are usually held in May/June, have been pushed back by a month to take into account the disruption to classes across the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year’s exams were also delayed as a result of the health crisis.

Unlike many other jurisdictions in the region, Cayman’s schools are fully open, as there have been no reports of community transmission of the virus since October last year. Local schools closed in March but reopened for the new academic year in September.

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As well as the delayed examination start dates, to assist students whose education has been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, the CXC regional examination body plans to outline publicly the broad topics to be assessed on Paper Two five weeks before the start of the examinations.

Other changes to the 2021 CSEC examinations include a reduced number of school-based assessments’ (SBA) practicals/assignments and a modified approach to the implementation of SBAs in line with the CXC ‘Treatment of Syllabuses and the School-Based Assessment for Administration of Examinations in 2021 Handbook for Students’.

In a statement issued on 2 March, the CXC said, “There have been calls for CXC to consider the revision of requirements for syllabus coverage due to disruptions brought about by COVID-19. However, it was determined that any change, at any level, to the programme of studies offered by CXC can prove disadvantageous to stakeholders and impact CXC’s ability to compare results across years in terms of equivalence of certification. Therefore, the one-month delay in the schedule of this year’s examinations will allow for additional instructional time as teachers and students prepare for examinations. Additionally, submission deadlines for SBAs [school-based assessments] have been extended by one month.”

A team from the Ministry of Education and the Department of Education Services plans to meet soon to finalise the examination process for local students, DES Acting Director Tammy Hopkins said.

“With the timing of the examinations, results will be returned to territories later than normal. The joint [Ministry of Education] and DES team is currently facilitating meetings with various stakeholders to ensure the transition of our students to the next stage of their education is as seamless as possible. Once the logistics are finalised, students, parents and teachers will all be notified of the processes,” she said in a statement.

Cayman’s education minister, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, in a 12 March press release, said she was pleased the CXC “has considered the plight of students throughout the region, providing each candidate with the opportunity to excel in their examinations despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic”.

She added, “As with our counterparts across the region, we have worked to mitigate learning loss due to the pandemic, however, Cayman is in the enviable position across the region to have reconvened onsite learning for our students in August 2020. Many territories within the Caribbean have had to do in-person learning on a rota, or even resorted back to remote learning due to upticks in the COVID-19 numbers in their countries.

“I am confident that our students will capitalise on the increased learning opportunities brought on by the additional instructional time and expend maximum effort in the upcoming examinations.”

For more information, visit the CXC website.

Read the full CSEC schedule here.

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