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The Ministry of Education and Youth, is reminding all secondary school administrators, that the deadline for registering students to sit the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC) examination is Wednesday, January 31.
The examination, which is administered by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) will be done in all CARICOM countries for the first time in June of this year. The cost per subject in Jamaica is $1,045.00 with no registration fee.
In an interview with JIS News, Chief Education Officer at the Ministry of Education and Youth, Jasper Lawrence, said that the Ministry fully endorsed the new examination, as it would provide students with an opportunity to be certified based on their levels of competencies in a particular subject.
“The CCSLC was designed as a response to CARICOM Governments’ request for an examination to provide for, and certify the knowledge and generic skills and competencies that all secondary school leavers should have,” he stated.
“And the Ministry fully endorses the examination,” he added, “as it has special relevance for first level employment for students leaving high school and for those who wish to continue their studies.” Mr. Lawrence said that the CCSLC would be recognized and accepted throughout the region, as it was designed to replace a number of local examinations that were being offered by individual territories. As such, it will replace Jamaica’s Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination, which will have its final sitting, this academic year.
The Chief Education Officer said that the CCSLC, which is currently open to students enrolled in secondary schools, would be open to the general public in the near future, as is currently done with the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC).
He also pointed out that even though the Ministry is treating the sitting as “an exit exam”, it is still open to students at all grades.
“As with the CSEC, students can sit the exam at any grade that they are competent to do so, but as a Ministry we are supporting it as an exit exam,” he said.
PRO Registrar of the Western Zone Office of the CXC, Wesley Barrett said that the CCSLC was developed in response to the request of policy makers and educators, for a secondary level programme that would meet the needs of students with a wide range of abilities and competencies.
In comparing the CCSLC and CSEC examinations, Mr. Barrett pointed out that while there are some similarities in terms of the areas covered in the various subjects, he said that the CSEC goes into greater depth in some areas. On the other hand, the CCSLC provides the opportunity for students to be appraised and graded on their levels of competencies in certain areas.
“The focus (for the exam) is really on key competencies that the students must acquire and that are needed in everyday life.the certificate provides the opportunity for the students to leave with competencies that are required for the world of work, that are needed for further training as well as for higher level examinations,” he asserted He also pointed out that the CCSLC grading system is different as it consists of three areas, which state that the student is either ‘developing competence’, is ‘competent’ or is ‘a master’.
“A candidate with a score of 70 to 100 per cent will be certified as a master, one with 50 to 74 will be regarded as competent, and one with scores below 50 will be regarded as ‘developing competence’,” he explained.
“A student will not get a certificate,” he pointed out, “unless that student is adjudged as competent or a master in five subjects.”
Mr. Barrett further noted that transcripts of candidates’ performance in the subjects taken will be issued each year, and students who successfully complete the CCSLC will receive a certificate issued jointly by the CXC and the Ministry of Education. In this regard, students are required to sit, in addition to English and Mathematics, at least three subjects in order to qualify for the certificate.
As it relates to certification, students are able to gain CCSLC certification, with a combination of CSEC and CCSLC subjects. As such, a student who for instance acquired three subjects at the CSEC level and does Mathematics and English at the CCSLC level will also be eligible for the certificate. Students are given a period of up to three years, to sit the examinations in order to be eligible for the certificate.
“This examination is very flexible,” Mr. Barrett pointed out, “as it allows a student to sit a wide range of subjects along with English and Math,” he stated.
The subjects offered under the examination include, Mathematics, English Language, Social Studies, Integrated Science, Modern Languages, Home Economics, Building Technology, Technical Drawing, Economics, Information Technology, Principles of Accounts and Business respectively, Physical Education and Sport, Music, and TVET level programmes, among others. Enrichment subjects, Community Service and Clubs and Societies will be included in the assessment in 2008.