CXC markers honoured
Jeffrey heckled
Stabroek News
July 27, 2003

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Teachers from around the region were honoured last week for their services to the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and were also treated to a verbal skirmish between local educators and Education Minister Dr. Henry Jeffrey.

The Markers Long Service Awards Ceremony was held at the Ocean View Convention Centre to honour what CXC Registrar Dr. Lucy Steward described as the invaluable service of teachers to the strengthening of CXC, which administers the regional CSEC and CAPE examinations.

Jeffrey, whose ministry is still deadlocked with teachers over wage increases for 2002, was greeted with a lukewarm reception by the local teachers in attendance when he rose to speak. He said Guyana had always recognised the importance of the regional body and supported its intervention in the field of education. This, he noted, despite the stumbles in the efforts towards regional integration, was where the Caribbean had managed to achieve co-operation.

But while advocating the need for greater parental involvement in education, Jeffrey said this was vital given the full support which his Ministry had heaped upon CXC, schools and teachers.

This comment drew jeers and such comments as, “Pay the teachers!” Seemingly indifferent, he persevered, but was met by further derision which prompted him to give an outline of what he called “the real situation.”

Amid a torrent of boos, Jeffrey issued a challenge to teachers to dispute that their salaries had increased over 500% since 1992, to which a section of the audience asked, “What about the inflation rate?”

Jeffrey responded, saying that over the period the inflation rate had not exceeded 90%, “... and those are facts I [want] you to dispute.”

“I am not saying that teachers are well-paid, or should be paid more than everyone else...or that teachers like other public servants deserve better pay. I am saying [that] in the context of what is available teachers have had their fair rewards...”

This elicited shouts of “No!” from the gathering and Jeffrey quickly concluded his address.

Meanwhile Steward noted that since the CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) was introduced in 1979, with 30,194 registered candidates and 58,708 subject entries, it has grown considerably.

By last year there were 122,621 candidate entries and 464,486 subject entries, figures which have grown by 3% this year. Similarly, since the CAPE (Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination) was introduced in 1998, when there were 791 candidate entries and 985 subject entries, it has grown, registering 5,741 candidate entries and 15,677 subject entries by last year.

She said these figures were expected to increase significantly when Trinidad and Tobago introduced the examination.

Steward considered the increase in the candidate population, a reflection of the value which was placed on the examinations and certification by “policy makers, parents and students.”

In this vein she pointed out that CXC certification was now acceptable at the University of Guyana, the University of the West Indies and universities in North America and England. The National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC), the official body which advises UK universities on international qualifications, has advised that CAPE certification is acceptable for entry into UK universities.

At the regional level, she observed that the marking exercise, like no other, had provided an opportunity for networking among the Caribbean countries and had contributed to regional integration and regional co-operation in education.

She said the awards were in recognition of the service of teachers in human development and for the role they played in the strengthening of the CXC, as a regional body.

Among the other guests at the presentation were: Deputy-Secretary General of CARICOM, Lolita Applewhaite, Permanent Secretary in the Education Ministry, Ganga Persaud and Chief Education Officer, Ed Caesar.

Recipients of the award for ten years of service were: Forbs Abrams, Terrence Angel, Gavin Caleb, Debbie Da Silva, Pamela Duff Hytmiah, Deokinandan Harricharran, Esther McGarrell, Rita Merchant, Zareen Mohamed, Punit Nanku, Bissondyal Persaud, Bhanmattee Ramphal, Yvonne Robinson, Barbara Semple, Geoffrey Smith, Janet Walrond, Donna Williams and Vernell Woods for English; Jean Holder Lynch, Mohamed Hossein, Anand Persaud, Krishna Prasad, Bibi Shakur and Peter Wintz for Mathematics; Helena Allum, Betty Adams-Skeete, Cynthia Seenath, Rajnauth Sieunarine and Valentine Yearwood for Principles of Accounts; Aletia Alleyne, Annie Balchan, Bernadette Chin, Cheryl Dier, Marcel Hutson, Deborah Jack, James Jodhan, Anand Mangru, Narjeet Rambarakh, Raymond Reis and Cheryl Worrell for Social Studies. Those awarded for fifteen years of service were: Chandra Basdeo, Earl Boatswain, Monica Collins, Emma Derrick, Myrtle Fanfair, Cecilia Holder, Annette Kellman, Kuntie Mathura, Lynette McKenzie, Mitthulall, Rajkumarie Singh, Charles Sobers, Ann-Louise Tam, Claudith Thompson and Doreen Wills for English; Alva Hood, Abdool Karim and Joan Persaud for Mathematics; Joylyn Breedy, Barry Garner, Ian Hosten, Carl Morton and Donna Murray for Principles of Accounts; Ancel Balfour, Juliet Lewis, Earlene Ramessar, Zohora Singh and Esther Utoh. For twenty years service Idelle Austin, Pamela Badley, Merle Baker, Nancy Baksh-Mohammed, Camini Bhairam-Joseph, Maude Bullen-McKenzie, Sheilah Garcia-Bisnott, Herma Mendonca, Anthony Perry and Megan Richmond were awarded for English; Clement Derrell and Gwendolyn Pope for Mathematics; Edward Basdeo, Wayne Clarke, Joseph King, Cecilia Lamorell, Dennis Noel, Courtenay Senhouse and Roopnarine Singh for Principles of Accounts. Assistant Chief Marker in Social Studies, Stephenson Braithwaite was awarded for more than 20 years service. (Andre Haynes)

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