JTA raises alarm after CXC discontinues certification of certain subjects

JTA President Leighton Johnson
By Nakinskie Robinson    
The Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) is sounding the alarm over a decision by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) to discontinue certification for certain critical subjects.
CXC announced that it will no longer be awarding certification for mechanical engineering at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency (CAPE) levels.
It has also indicated that it will no longer offer double award certification for agricultural science.
The double award offering is considered a level above the CSEC certificate.
Up until the announcement, the regional examinations body has been offering single and double awards for the subject.
JTA President Leighton Johnson is calling for the relevant stakeholders to outline measures to cushion potential fallout. 
"We therefore urge representatives from CXC as well as from the Ministry of Education to respond to this situation with a clear plan, to indicate alternative subjects to be offered, mitigating the impact on the affected students and teachers, to clarify the emphasis on STEM subjects if these subjects are removed from our systems and offerings, and explain the impact on the transformation of education's initiative, outline the effects on Jamaica's overall developmental goals and to ensure and guarantee a secure tenure for teachers in these subject areas," he said, warning that "We cannot compromise our children's future nor can we compromise the job security of our members." 
The agricultural science syllabus is arranged in five sections, from A to E.
Candidates presented for the Single Award examination complete Sections A, B and C, while those presented for the Double Award complete all five sections.
Mr. Johnson described the move as sudden and said the impact could be significant for the education system, students and the teachers and laboratory technicians. 
Efforts to contact CXC and the Overseas Examinations Commission to provide clarity on why the examinations are being discontinued as well as the implementation timeline, were unsuccessful.

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