Face-to-face classes begin May 10 for students sitting exit exams

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Children that will be sitting exit exams this year, will be allowed to have face-to-face structured classes to enable them to adequately prepare, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced in the House of Parliament on Tuesday.

According to Holness, the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) believes that increased movement by the children and staff at schools could result in an increase in the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on the island, which is behind the implementation of no movement on Labour Day, May 24.

“The logic behind this (no movement), for those who wonder why we are doing this, this is really a compensatory measure because we will have to send our children back so that they can do the exit exams and we know that once these movements happen, we may have increase numbers, so we are compensating by doing this lockdown almost preemptively.

“The dates for exit exams are approaching and teachers and students continue to face significant challenges with preparations,” Holness said.

Students sitting the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), City and Guilds and National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) exams will be allowed to have face-to-face classes on May 10.

Holness said that approximately 39,000 students will sit PEP on May 26, 13,961 in public schools and 101 in private schools are registered for CAPE and 25,174 in public and 1,162 in private are registered for CSEC.

He said a significant amount of school-based assessment (SBA) work has not been completed as on April 8 when a poll was conducted only 70 per cent have been done, which normally numbers about 90 per cent at the end of March in normal years.

Holness argued that face-to-face classes will enable the students to better prepare the SBAs, but during the period all COVID-19 protocols must be enforced in the schools and the government will provide grants to provide equipment that is needed for this to happen.

He said that administrators of schools will have to work out a rolling schedule to have only a subset of each of the cohorts sitting exams in the schools at one time, with the rest working remotely. Holness said this will also ensure that the transportation system is not crowded.

Holness stated that the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) will carry out inspections for the breach and maintenance of COVID-19 protocols.

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