Students return to the classroom on 12th April

Thousands of students who have been out of the classroom for almost a year because of the coronavirus pandemic are to return to face learning on 12th April at the start of the third term in the 2020-2021 school year.

Director of Education Clare Browne, who made the announcement, said this decision affects all education institutions in the country, whether private or public. It was mid-April last year that the government moved to protect the school population when it decided to suspend all face-to-face learning and to provide teaching via virtual means.

“All remote (virtual) learning will close on April first and the school Easter vacation will run from April 5 to 9, with classes resuming in all institutions on April 12 for face-to-face teaching,” Browne declared.

However, the Director of Education said there are a number of things that need to be completed if this timetable is to be met. “These will depend on the continued management of the COVID-19 cases as well as the vaccination of teachers, staff at the school plants as well as school drivers and conductors,” he explained.

The government also announced a schedule for the vaccination of all teachers, education officials and technicians as well as ancillary staff. “Education officers, technical officers, heads of departments, level heads, master teachers, senior teachers as well as executive members of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers will be vaccinated this Saturday and Sunday (March 6 and 7) at the American University of Antigua campus near Jabberwock beach,” he revealed.

All other teachers and ancillary staff, including school bus drivers and conductors, will be vaccinated during the week of 8th to 12th March at the Antigua Girls High School. Parking will be provided at the Lion’s Den grounds.

Browne said the process will see the vaccination of approximately three thousand people and he is asking for the cooperation of all to ensure that the programme runs smoothly. Those teachers or officials who are unable to attend this weekend’s inoculation because of religious or other reasons may go to the AGHS centre during the upcoming week.

Meanwhile, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has announced its strategy for the administration of the 2021 regional summer examinations, following a meeting with the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD).

After reviewing CXC’s proposal, consensus was reached by the meeting’s attendees, which included Ministers of Education, senior Ministry of Education officials and pertinent stakeholders from across CARICOM. 

CXC’s proposal was formulated following extensive consultations, led by the Ministries of Education at the national level and inclusive of local stakeholders in education. The primary focus was to ensure that the administration of the regional examinations would not disenfranchise the region’s students, in light of the ongoing disruptions to the education system caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

COHSOD-Education has approved the following: 

  1. a) That CXC will administer the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCLSC) Examinations in their original format; that is, for CAPE and CSEC Papers 01, 02 and 031 (School-Based Assessments [SBA]) or Paper 032 for private candidates, and for CCSLC, Papers 01 and 02; 
  2. b) That the examinations will be scheduled during the period June/July 2021, CSEC and CAPE written examinations commence on 14th June and end on 16th July 2021. Results will be made available to the Ministries of Education in the last week of September 2021; 
  3. c) That an extension will be given for the deadline by which students can decide to defer the sitting of the 2021 examinations. All Candidates will be required to indicate their intent for deferral by 1st May 2021; and 
  4. d) That taking into consideration the loss of learning many students experienced, that CXC will share with Ministries of Education for communication to Candidates, the Broad topics to be assessed on Paper 02, five (5) weeks in advance of the start of examinations.

COHSOD-Education also approved the dates of 27th – 28th May 2021 for the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment™ (CPEA™) examinations, 19th – 22nd July 2021 for CCSLC examinations and that the online Training and Assessment Quality Audits for the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) will be conducted during the period May to August 2021, with dates determined by individual participating territories. Timetables for all examinations are available on CXC’s website, www.cxc.org.

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