15 May 2008

Level playing field

As an A-Level teacher I was understandably concerned when the news broke of the CAPE exam paper leak. My fears were justified when I heard that the Barbados-based examination body had decided that all the exams were to be postponed and subsequently replaced with back-up papers. I quickly came to peace with the idea however, when I realised that it was the best that CAPE could do to preserve the integrity of the exams.

My peace was short-lived when I read that it was only Trinidad and Tobago that CAPE decided needed to postpone exams. For a board that I have always assumed to be composed of the best and the brightest in the Caribbean, why in an age when we know anyone can send information between the islands via e-mail and other forms of telecommunication in a matter of seconds, would they presume that there was no possible way that the leaked exam papers would reach the other territories?

It is nothing short of hypocrisy to rule that only T&T must postpone their examinations, especially since a leak of exam papers may have most likely emanated from their source, Barbados. There is no guarantee that even though the leaked papers turned up in Trinidad, that as I write, students in Jamaica, Barbados, and the rest of the Caribbean are not feverishly downloading their pending exam papers.

I am flabbergasted that the Ministry of Education and TTUTA are seemingly taking this lying down. If they are not willing to stand up for our nation's students' right to a level playing field - who will?

D Ali

San Fernando