Education Minister Anthony Garcia expects to receive a detailed report on the issue of invigilators being absent during a CXC math exam on May 15, which allowed students of Tranquillity Government Secondary School to cheat.

Prince Julio Cesar

Speaking to members of the media after the PNM general council meeting at the Balisier House, Port of Spain yesterday, Garcia said the investigation was ongoing.

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A video on social media showed Tranquillity Government Secondary School, Port of Spain, students using their cell phones to WhatsApp answers to each other during the math exam. In the video, no invigilator was present in the room, and students were seen talking and walking about. Three invigilators who were supposed to be supervising the students were fired.

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Garcia said he attended an emergency meeting with the ministry’s chief education officer, permanent secretary, and principal officers of the ministry, on Friday, to discuss the matter. He added that the supervisor submitted an initial report but the ministry requested a more detailed one which he hoped to receive tomorrow.

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Garcia explained that most centre coordinators, in charge of a cluster of schools, and centre supervisors, in charge of the specific centres, were retired principals or public servants who were experienced with exams

However, the invigilators who were supposed to be in the classrooms during examinations, were gathered through ministry advertisements. He said people applied, were interviewed, and were selected for the job.

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“I don’t see the need for any great change except that we have to be more vigilant in terms of those persons who we appoint. We have to make sure first of all that they have the commitment and that they have the aptitude because, as you know, the examinations are very sensitive issues and we want to make sure these examinations are administered properly.”

He stressed that there were no problems with the administration of the Secondary Entrance Assessment examination. He believed that was because the supervisors and examiners were experienced teachers from the school system

Garcia said any possible repercussion for the cheating students would be decided by CXC (the Caribbean Examinations Council). He said he was aware of a petition being circulated asking for another math exam. However, he said he was concerned about innocent students in that classroom and other schools as he did not want them to suffer because of the few wrongdoers

“We are furnishing CXC with all the information and on the basis on the information that we have gathered, and that we have given to CXC, CXC will made a decision… All these things will be taken into consideration before a final determination is made.”

He added that the exam papers were at the Ministry of Education under 24-hour security until they and the coordinators were transported to exam centres by a security firm on the morning of the exam..

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