NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson yesterday called on the prime minister and Minister of Education to cancel national examinations for the rest of 2020.
Wilson’s plea came moments after the Ministry of Education announced last night that it will temporarily suspend the sitting of the BJC and BGCSE exams due to the recent spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in Grand Bahama.
The sitting of the examination has been marred with criticism, with many people having urged the government to cancel it from the outset given the ongoing pandemic and disadvantages faced by some students.
“The Ministry of Education is a conundrum,” Wilson said, while appearing as a guest on Beyond the Headlines with Clint Watson.
“They were forewarned by the Bahamas Union of Teachers, but they went against all logic.”
She continued: “I want to call on the prime minister, the Rt Honorable Hubert A Minnis, the competent authority, please sir, please minister of education Jeffrey Lloyd, cancel the sitting of the examinations for the remainder of 2020.
“Our children cannot go through much more of this mental anguish. This is going to have a psychological negative impact on our children, please.”
Wilson insisted that all of the government’s reasons for hosting the exams are now invalid, given that colleges and universities have waived their criteria; the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture has canceled its job program; and no new students are eligible for scholarships.
“We are asking them to use logic, use common sense,” she said.
The BUT president added that the handling of the exams “is just an example of the calamity that we are going to face for the reopening of schools in 2020”.
The ministry explained in its statement that the decision was taken in an effort to ensure the safety of all concerned and to protect the integrity of the national examinations.
The statement read: “The Ministry of Education advises students to continue their preparations for these crucial examinations as they will be held at a later date in accordance with the advice of the competent authority guided by the Ministry of Health officials.
“Meanwhile the public should stay tuned to official media reports and the ministry’s official social media platforms for relevant updates.”