The local Ministry of Education is currently examining the possibility of introducing the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCLSC), with a view of further bolstering its performance at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Examination.
At least this is according to Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, who in an invited comment yesterday said that her Ministry is currently looking at the programme which is offered by the CXC.
Ahead of the CSEC examination, the local Education Ministry had introduced an ambitious programme among 26 pilot schools which saw 52.05 per cent of those students passing with Grades One through Three in Mathematics and English.
However, the CCLSC, which is a relatively new programme, has only been implemented in a few Caribbean countries thus far, and was touted by senior CXC officials last Thursday as a crucial programme designed to improve the performance at CSEC. The officials were at the time addressing a CXC forum at the International Conference Centre.
According to the examining body, the CCLSC is different from the Basic and General Proficiency in its philosophy and orientation, in that, it is based on a core of knowledge skills, attitudes and values that all secondary school leavers should have. It focuses on mastery of competencies and this is reflected in the assessment procedures and the format of the performance reports.
As a foundational programme, CXC Registrar, Dr. Didacus Jules, said that the CCLSC was designed ideally for Forms One through Three. He revealed that when CXC brought the CSEC into existence, the focus was on Forms Four and Five where the syllabus was harmonised. This, as a result, left a notable gap in the lower forms.
It was against this background, he explained, that CXC sought to introduce the CCLSC to rationalise the situation and create a solid entry level foundational programme that would help to develop the competencies to succeed at those terminal levels.
“What is beginning to happen in every one of the core subjects such as English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Integrated Science and French, is that from last year to this year, there are huge increases in performance.”
He revealed that the performance in Mathematics at CCLSC is acceptable at 73.7 per cent in a context where at CSEC it is 33 per cent, with English standing at a remarkable 85.8 per cent, much better than what is obtained at CSEC.
“That tells us in CXC that this CCLSC thing is working, because we are seeing the improvement. We are seeing this on the basis of objective reality…that is what the examinations are showing…”
As such, Dr Jules said that CXC will now be tracking those students who are excelling at CCLSC to assess their performance at CSEC.
“We want to see what happens to them in a grouping in their own right and I guarantee you that this is where we are going to see further improvements.”
He explained that the whole move reinforces the notion that “education is an interdependent and seamless thing which causes what is done at one level to contribute to the next level.”
According to CXC Senior Assistant Registrar, Dr Gordon Harewood, the CCLSC will undoubtedly serve to go a long way towards addressing some of the gaps and weaknesses that are being seen in candidates’ performances in English and Mathematics.
Dr Harewood emphasised that the CCLSC has been spending a lot of time trying to ensure that candidates master the foundational competencies and skills that they should acquire to go on to the higher classes at secondary level.
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