Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd announced yesterday that national examinations will resume on September 14.
The exams came to a halt in July following a spike in COVID-19 cases in The Bahamas.
In recent weeks, some questioned whether the government would cancel the exams for the 2019/2020 school year as parents, students and teachers prepare to start the upcoming 2020/2021 school year.
However, Lloyd quashed that speculation yesterday.
“I, therefore, wish to inform today that having been given such clearance, the Ministry of Education will resume the administration of national exams beginning Monday, September 14, 2020, and ending Friday, October 2, 2020,” he said during a Ministry of Education press conference.
“As was previously arranged, the Ministry of Education will provide private/independent and public schools with private invigilators to assist with the supervision of the examinations.
“The Examination and Assessment Division (EAD) will prepare new general timetables to be issued to schools and unattached candidates. The timetables will be placed in the local print and electronic media [and] published this week Thursday.
“No new individual timetables will be printed. Students will be advised to use the general timetables and mark on them the dates and times for their various examinations.”
Lloyd said this is “the last time” the ministry will restart the national exams.
“If for any reason – any reason whatsoever – that the exams are again interrupted, before its completion on Friday, October 2, they will be canceled,” he said.
He said the marking of exams will start on September 2 and continue through the end of October.
Lloyd also said it is anticipated that results will be released by the end of November.
“This will give EAD the time to entertain queries before the end of the Christmas term and to roll over the exam processing system, so that registration for the 2021 cycle can begin by the second week in January 2021,” he said.
Lloyd’s announcement raised the question of how the sitting of the exams will work for students who have already started their university studies.
Addressing those concerns, Seretha Clarke, undersecretary at the ministry, said, “Those students who are already in UB (the University of The Bahamas) will still be able to, if they wish, take the national examinations.
“As the minister said earlier, it’s not simply for getting into a university but it’s always a matter of them being able to bring closure to the 2019/2020 academic year and for their own personal gratification.”
She said students who choose to not sit the exams will be able to get a refund.
“Those students will have to place with the Examination and Assessment Division — through their school — a request for a refund,” Clarke said.
“The refund will not come from the Examination and Assessment Division. The refund will come from the public treasury.”
She said the refund could take “weeks”.