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National exams to be held between April 13 and June 25

EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd.

EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd.

By EARYEL BOWLEG

Tribune Staff Reporter

ebowleg@tribunemedia.net

EDUCATION Minister Jeffrey Lloyd announced on Friday that the country’s national exams will be held between April 13 through June 25.

He said as of March 12, there were 5,087 students registered for the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) exams while 9,382 candidates were registered for the Bahamas Junior Certificate tests.

At a press conference on Friday, officials were asked how the registration numbers compare to last year’s and to what extent it reflects students who opted to take the exams again or for the first time.

Assistant Director of Education Evelyn Sawyer responded: “When looking at the numbers for the 2021 examination, especially for the BGCSE, the numbers are basically the same as they were last year. Now, you have to bear in mind students were given an option to write the exams and most of the candidates who registered for the exam in 2020 were 12th graders. Some of them have already entered the job market. Some of them have already (enrolled) in (a) tertiary institution and so it is highly unlikely that many of them are rewriting the exam this year.

“With reference to the BJC examinations, the number is a little less than it normally is because about 85 percent of the candidates wrote the BJC last year, so the number of candidates who are re-writing would be the candidates who are senior high school (students) who need to qualify for the diploma and also I think it was mentioned the number of children being born in The Bahamas—less and less each year—and so we see that being reflected in the number of candidates that we have registering for the examinations.”

It was initially reported that the exams may have to be delayed this year due to COVID-19, as they were last year.

However Mr Lloyd noted the country is now experiencing a more relaxed atmosphere.

COVID-19 cases have lessened and the ministry is able to transition on major islands from online instruction to blended or hybrid learning. Therefore, the ministry believes that the atmosphere is “favourable” to carrying out the 2020/2021 national examinations.

However, Mr Lloyd said there is a possibility for disruption by the hurricane season and even a resurgence of COVID-19.

“There is still the possibility (of disruption). We live in a hurricane zone, they call it hurricane valley, there is still the possibility that there may be the disruption of the (schedule) due to hurricanes, natural disasters, or even COVID-19. We are not out of the woods,” he cautioned.

“It must be noted the hurricane season is starting mid-May instead of the 1st of June as it does ordinarily and the possibility of a hurricane should not be taken lightly. Even if there is a disruption due to circumstances beyond our control there should be significant time to complete the cycle in a timely manner with the examinations being timetabled as they presently are.”

The importance of the BGCSEs was highlighted for university admission. Mr Lloyd noted University of The Bahamas relaxed its 2020 standard admission requirements of five BGCSE passes with a ‘C’ grade in math and language arts.

However, this year, and beyond, the university has now reverted to its initial position of requiring those exam results.

Last year's national exam results showed the number of BGCSE candidates that received at least a C grade in five or more subjects declined by 5.8 percent. The number of BJC students receiving a grade of C or higher in five or more subjects declined by 2.7 percent.

Both exams showed a drop in students who sat the exam. It was revealed that 10,753 people sat the BJC exams, representing a 3.62 percent decrease from 2019. Meanwhile, 6,073 candidates registered for the 2020 BGCSE exams compared with 6,454 in 2019 – representing a 5.9 percent decline.

Despite students having a turbulent year, Mr Lloyd expressed confidence by pointing to the improvements demonstrated in last year’s exam results.

“Last year was probably if not the most disruptive year in our educational system….Last year between March and the end of school our students were turned into a tailspin because of the COVID. Despite that, out of the 27 subjects that they took in the BGCSE they showed improvements in 15. Improvements over years where there was no disruption when things were normal,” he said.

“In the BJC, six subjects showed improvements. Now (if) that isn’t a mark of confidence and achievement in our Bahamian students – I don’t know.”

Meanwhile, the minister revealed there are less than “3,000 to 4,000 students” who are still without electronic devices for online learning. Yet, he said he received news that some students who have received their devices have decided to sell them.

Comments

sheeprunner12 2 years, 11 months ago

Our ancestors lived through depressions, wars, famines, storms, and pestilences .......... They did not QUIT ................. why don't we step up in this "pandemic" and honour their courage???? ........... #Bahamasstrong is more than words, it is action ............ There's no crying in Paradise

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