I am writing this letter as an aggrieved parent of the decision for cancelling Cambridge SC/HSC examinations which were due on Wednesday 28.04.2020.
While this is not the main purpose of my letter, I will note briefly that there was no heavy rain during the morning of 28.04.21. That the Meteorological services have failed the strategic interests of this country on countless times is not something new. That however hasty decisions should be made based on dodgy previsions is deeply regrettable. A decision on cancellation could have been taken early morning as it is usually the case when school is closed for torrential rains. I would also believe that a high-income country should have the capacity to guarantee both the security of all students and the holding of exams through governance and state resources.
My grief goes towards all students who had to work so hard, suffer the consequences of COVID-19 and sacrifice so much only to see the targeted culmination vanish in thin air. Examinations, especially those of this importance, have a deep purpose towards which meriting students have strived since a young age. Depriving them of the possibility to shine is a cruel blow to their aspirations.
While marking schemes can be adapted through procedural processes to give those students a final marking, I pray that you will concur that this is no substitute for the gratification of sitting for an exam and obtaining a grading/marking based on one’s own merit. Further, the best of our students have more to lose with the allegedly proposed special consideration which is being considered. I have read the relevant Cambridge description with attention and in my view any grading based on such an approach will be detrimental to those students. It is known that averaging and/or extrapolation of numbers statistically but artificially reduce the gap in a given statistical population (and therefore between average and brighter students).
I am therefore making a plea and appeal for the Ministry to consider it as an absolute necessity to reprogram the cancelled exams at a suitable date by using any contingency measures that the examining body can provide even if it has to be a different paper to the ones originally planned. As you rightly said, Madam Minister, students should not be penalised and I would add that examinations should be fair and just by sticking to the approved syllabus, marking scheme and number of papers originally planned. Finally, costs should not be an issue when interests of children and students have been jeopardised.
I thank you for your kind attention to this letter.
Hon Mrs. Leela Devi DOOKUN-LUCHOOMUN
Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology
The National Press
OPEN LETTER –CANCELLATION OF EXAMINATIONS