Ricardo Campbell, Youthlink Writer
Our educational system measures students' academic potential at the end of five years of high school via the Caribbean Examinations Council's Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams. Not all students are given the chance to sit these examinations, however. Those who've performed below a standard established by school administrators are not deemed suitable candidates. Is such a decision fair to these students? Should they be allowed to sit CSEC even if they've had a poor academic history throughout their five years at high school?
I think they should be prevented from doing so because I don't think it makes sense doing CSEC, if they have proven throughout their school years that they are just not ready for the BIG test. Having a bad academic record and failing mock exams says, 'I am not prepared'.
They should not be prevented because later down the road they are going to rely on those CXCs to get a good job or go to college. The past doesn't have to determine the future. The real test in high school is CSEC and depriving them of that [means] it didn't make sense going to high school to begin with.
They should be given the chance to do CSEC because their past school record, whether good or bad, does not [necessarily] determine their ability to excel in the subjects. Sometimes they are not focused during the school years, but when they realise that high school is coming to an end and CSEC is important to get a job when they leave they may settle down and do well. Whenever the school isolates such 'problem' [students], I think they should send them for counselling and give them the chance to do their best.
All students should have a chance at sitting these exams. I think they [administrators] are more concerned about how percentages will affect the overall performance of the school and how good or bad grades will reflect on it. Schools want to prevent those students from signing up because they will affect the overall percentage of passes for the school, and that's not fair.