First CXC exams on St. Eustatius

In the past week the first English-language exams of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) were taken at the Gwendoline van Putten School (GvP) on St. Eustatius. It regarded exams to conclude the lower form of the secondary school. Since the introduction of the CXC school system the lower form consists of three years. The lower form is called CCSLC (Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence).

In the lower form CCSLC all students are together. On conclusion of CCSLC the students advance to either the academic stream (comparable to the Dutch theoretical vmbo or havo) or to the vocational stream (comparable to the Dutch mbo). The academic stream within the CXC system is named CSEC. This stands for Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate. The vocational education specialisation is named CVQ. CVQ is the abbreviation of Caribbean Vocational Qualification. Both streams take two years. After the CSEC students who want to go to university can follow the two-year CAPE component. CAPE stands for Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination.

The exams of CXC are basically taken online. However, for the sake of certainty the exams are also available in hard copy. The CXC organisation sends the hard copy exams in a properly secured manner to the Local Registrar. This person must be established locally and must be a representative of the Ministry of Education. In the case of St. Eustatius the Local Registrar is a policy employee who is employed at the Education, Culture and Science Department of the Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland.

The students now taking the exams for the CCSLC lower form are the first to advance to the CSEC or the CVQ stream. On Saba the CSEC system has already been in use for nearly two decades. However, the CVQ system is implemented for the first time there, like on St. Eustatius, in the new school year.

The switch to the CXC system is a consequence of the transition to English as the language of instruction in the education on St. Eustatius. On account of the fact that the Dutch school system is entirely in the Dutch language, an English school system had to be found. After a thorough survey the CXC system surfaced as the best option. It is recognised worldwide. Students who conclude their CXC education at the Gwendoline van Putten School and at the Saba Comprehensive School (Saba), can continue their studies in the Caribbean but also in the Netherlands, the US, Canada and Australia.