CXC exam leak
Student, friend held and released on bail

by Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
June 10, 1999

The female student who had a photocopy of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) mathematics paper prior to the exam and the friend who supplied it to her were held by the police and released on $10,000 bail each, her mother told Stabroek News yesterday.

Police Public Relations Officer, Senior Superintendent Ivelaw Whittaker, confirmed this yesterday, saying that bail had been granted to allow investigations to proceed.

The investigation by the police of the matter has taken them into a hinterland region, and signs indicate that the leak may have been widespread rather than localised.

The child's parent told this newspaper that the supplier of the photocopy was a male friend of her daughter's who was an employee of a private company. The friend lives on the East Coast Demerara.

The parent, who does not reside in the city, told this newspaper in a telephone interview, that on June 2, she had received a telephone call from her daughter who had told her that she had been given a photocopy of the maths paper by her boyfriend, who said he had received it from another friend. The woman said her daughter had told her that she did not know what to do, especially if turned out that the paper was the same one she would be sitting the following day.

The parent said that she advised her child to turn in the copy of the paper to the school's administration or to the invigilator before the start of the examinations. However, the woman said, her daughter did not do that and when the exam began she found that it was indeed the same paper which she had already been given.

Contrary to reports that the student had been found with the paper during the examination, the parent said that when the child realised the papers were the same she had asked to be excused from the exam room, went to the cloakroom, took out the copy of the paper and turned it over to the invigilator. The parent maintained that the child had initially only taken a calculator, pens, pencil and eraser into the examination room.

Later in the day the student met senior Ministry of Education officials and together with her friend had subsequently been taken into police custody on Friday and had been released on $10,000 bail each. Police also travelled to the location where the child's parent resides and interrogated her. The parent was advised not to give out any information on the matter but feels that the child's version of the story ought to be told as "it was their word against the child's."

The parent said that even if the child did not say anything to anyone, students at the school were aware of what had transpired and word would get around. Since the incident occurred the parent said, her child had been ridiculed by students and told that she was stupid to turn in the paper and that she should have burnt it once she had finished going through it.

Chief Education Officer, Ed Caesar, had confirmed that there was an apparent breach in the security procedures which had been reported to the CXC Secretariat in Barbados and investigations were being closely monitored. He did not say whether the leak was localised or widespread, but added that the police may be on to a clue, which could lead to charges soon.

Meanwhile, the student has been allowed to continue writing her examinations. It is understood that she is writing several subjects and can only be disqualified by CXC based on investigations and a recommendation from the Ministry of Education.

Noting the seriousness of the offence, Caesar had said that Guyana like other Caribbean countries which offered the regional examination, had signed an agreement covering breaches. The agreement says that in the event that any breach occurs and is widespread, and the fault lies with security arrangements in a particular country, CXC could declare the paper null and void. The subject would then have to be redone with a reset paper, the entire cost of the new examination resting on that country. If the origin of the breach is from outside the country and is widespread, the paper would be declared invalid in the entire region and would have to be rewritten.

A breach occurred during the early 1980's and was found to be localised to a centre on the East Coast Demerara and to one person in Georgetown. Those persons at the centre and the individual in the city were disqualified from the examination.

In recent years, breaches in certain examination papers were also reported in Jamaica and the students were disqualified.

A page from:
Guyana: Land of Six Peoples