By Aabigayle McIntosh
Education leaders in the Caribbean are increasingly worried about high levels of absenteeism during the June session of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams.
Myrick Smith, the local Registrar of CXC, expressed concern that out of 7,696 subject entries initially registered, only 7,346 were completed, implying that 350 candidates were absent.
“Some of those absences were due to some things that are yet to be ironed out by CXC. Anyone candidate if you know you wrote the exam, don’t worry, we are going to get that sorted out,” Smith said.
The number is, however, down from 2022, when 430 people were absent for the exams.
Director of Operations at CXC, Dr Lisa Manning, was the first official to express concern about absenteeism from examinations and cheating last week.
Smith said in Antigua’s case, the 350 absentees are equivalent to over $30,000 as these candidates would have to pay in advance to sit the exams.
“We want to make sure that we do everything to make sure that we do reduce the number of absences,” he said.
Meanwhile, the local education officials are overjoyed by the performances of students from Antigua and Barbuda who wrote the exams.
Director of Education Clare Browne said the students are to be commended and express immense gratitude to teachers, parents, and others who played a part in their success.
“We commend all of them, their teachers, for the sacrifices and the hard work. There were challenges and even at a time when our teachers were taking Industrial action, they found a way to assist our students, and for that we are grateful,” Browne said.