CXC and IRP Launch Past Paper Booklets

The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and Ian Randle Publishers on Thursday 8 April 2010 launched a new line of past paper booklets for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) at CXC’s Headquarters in Barbados.

The event was the first in a series of launches which took place across the region, to signal the first fruits of a partnership which was initialled on 9 September 2009 by the two Caribbean institutions. Similar events were hosted in Belize, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

During the event, Mr Ian Randle, Chairman of Ian Randle Publishers presented samples of the booklets to Dr Didacus Jules, CXC Registrar and Mr Laurie King, Chief Education Officer (Acting) in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Barbados.

Under the terms and conditions of the agreement, CXC has granted IRP exclusive publishing rights in respect of syllabuses and past examination question papers for all Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects. The agreement also grants non-exclusive rights in respect of subjects reports, related specimen papers and mark schemes for CAPE and CSEC subjects.

“The strategic alliance with IRP optimises the production, marketing and distribution of high-quality resource materials as part of a wider strategy to increase access to examinations and certification within the Caribbean region,” explained Mr Guy Hewitt, Head of CXC Corporate Strategy and Business Development Unit.

Schools Reports included

Some 42 different titles representing all the subject areas examined by the CXC at CSEC and CAPE were published under the agreement and are now available. “The booklets carry an attractive colourful design and are very reader friendly,” Mr Randle stated.

“Moreover, they feature a significant value-added component – the Examiners’ Schools Reports – incorporated as part of each subject booklet,” explained Mr Randle as he spoke at the launch in Barbados. “This is important not only in giving the client (teachers, institutions, students) more value for money, but also to the CXC because it immediately and effectively solves the problem of how to distribute the Reports to its widest possible target  audience, thus ensuring that the Reports are read and utilized by both teachers and students.”

Dr Didacus Jules, CXC Registrar also underscored the importance of the added value of the Schools Reports. “The publication of the schools reports is a significant step forward because these reports are prepared by the examining committee for each subject in every examination.”

The CXC Registrar gave an example of how the schools reports can help to improve performance. “From several preceding years, the examination committee for Geography has been pointing to the need for improved map-reading skills by the students, and the schools apparently finally paid attention to that guidance and we saw in last year’s examination, significant improvement in performance because attention has been given to improving map reading skills.”

Transparency

Ian Randle Publishers was selected after a tendering process, which saw bids being submitted by both Caribbean and international publishers, to render a range of publishing services for CXC-branded publications.

Dr Jules said that CXC was looking for a company that meets international standards, but as a regional body, CXC wants to build regional publishing capacity and IRP fitted the bill in both cases as one of the leading publishers in the region.

He added, “IRP’s selection demonstrates that regional companies have the capacity to compete internationally without compromising on quality.”

Improved access

The publication of the past paper booklets and schools reports by IRP increases access to these important resource materials by more students and teachers.

As one of the leading scholarly and academic publishers in the Caribbean, IRP has a well established marketing and distribution network which has been put to work in distributing the booklets.

“To truly publish a work it requires that the work must get into the hands of the reader and that will be our greatest challenge,” Mr Randle noted. “We are confident that with the distribution arrangements we have in place, the large markets of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, will be well served.

Mr Randle said they are conscious of the special needs of the smaller OECS countries: Belize, Suriname, the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Dutch Antilles and will be making arrangements to ensure their availability in all territories.

In this regard, one of the important new dimensions in the distribution of this new series of past papers is the facility to order copies online through the IRP secure purchasing facility at www.ianrandlepublishers.com.

“What this means is that the books are now available to anyone interested in purchasing a copy or copies in any part of the world,” stated Mr Randle.