NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd yesterday disputed reports that there were challenges with the start of the National Examinations.
“I have no confirmation of those allegations, none whatsoever,” Lloyd told reporters outside Cabinet.
“Every single investigation and assessment that I have discovered as of this morning is that the examinations went on very well, not a problem.”
On Monday, Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President advised in a statement that she had received reports the sitting of the BJC and BGCSE examinations had been experiencing several hiccups.
Those included the late arrival of MOE officials to some schools, the late start of examinations to at least one center, classrooms not cleaned, untrained invigilators, and poor social distancing.
“It is no surprise because the Ministry of Education officials has difficulty implementing procedures under normal circumstances,” Wilson said.
“When education officials ignore comma sense recommendations and best practices that have been tried and proven before in The Bahamas and other jurisdictions then what can be expected.
“I just hope for the sake of our nation’s youth that the Ministry of Education gets its act together and review the mistakes of Day 1 and improve tomorrow and the days and weeks ahead.”
Wilson further questioned the “reliability, validity, and integrity” of these examinations given the concerns and “the absence of Cambridge University’s direct involvement and the important role they play in the inspection of examination centers and their observation and unannounced oversight of actual exams.”
In. a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Education denounced the BUT president’s recent comments as “disingenuous” and “unsubstantiated” charges designed to create public panic.
“All over the Caribbean on July 13, students were sitting down to take their CXC Examinations, the same day as Bahamian students began to sit their BJCs and BGCSEs, it read.
“We in the Ministry of Education hold to the belief that the students of The Bahamas are no less competent than are their Caribbean counterparts, and it is certainly an indictment of students, parents, and teachers who have preparing students for these exams for the past three years, for the BUT President to consistently state otherwise.”
Lloyd insisted yesterday that there was sufficient planning that went into putting on the National Examinations and chastised critics for hindering the process.
“It is regrettable to me and personally disappointing that agents of inspiration and continued transformation and motivation for young people at this time in our national circumstance would provide instead of those motivations and inspiration, more of a defeatist and disappointing posture,” he said.
“If COVID-19 isn’t enough of a despondent reality for so many people, why would those in the education sphere not spark inspiration and motivation and encouragement of our young people?”
Testing in Inagua
Yesterday, Clarice Bain, an Inagua mother, told Eyewitness News that her daughter and other students were unable to sit their Electrical examination because an invigilator didn’t make it to the island on time.
“Nobody came and they were supposed to take the exam this morning,” Bain said.
“So you ain’t know what is what, you ain’t hearing nothing else, they didn’t say whether it is going to be put off for another time.
“I’m feeling sad about it because the children were already prepared for it, so it makes it seems as if they forget about the kids in Inagua.
“They told them they have to sit these exams – the BGCSE, and BJC – and now that the children are prepared to sit it, nobody showed up, no one called to say nothing, or whether they are going to sit it another time.
“I’m just lost for words.”
Bain said the night before, she reached out to the teacher and principal of the school for clarity but was told that they were unsure of the process.
She noted that the island only receives flights on Mondays and Fridays.
“It’s not like they are not prepared for it and the teacher was really working with them online and even in the class for the past two weeks but he cannot sit in the class with the children and they told them that they would have to send someone in for the exams,” she said.
The Bahamas remains in a state of emergency until July 31, under a 10 pm to 5 am curfew.