The Caribbean Examinations Council, under the leadership of Registrar Dr. Didacus Jules and Pro-Registrar Mr. Glenroy Cumberbatch, has continued to seize the opportunities that present themselves despite the many challenges that abound in the provision of education services in the region, and has moved from strength to strength in the scope and quality of services it provides. In 2008, Dr. Jules presented a Strategic Plan to guide the CXC’s transformation over the period 2008 – 2011. Key focal areas included building quality assurance for CXC’s existing products and development of new products and services; and building the organisation outwards through strategic alliances with other regional institutions such as the University of the West Indies, the Caribbean Development Bank, the OECS, CARICOM and with international institutions to ensure global acceptance of the CXC’s qualifications and to broaden the services provided by the CXC. The Plan was underpinned by deepening staff engagement and development, increased utilisation of information technologies available and improved operational efficiencies.

Over the past few years, the annual reports have highlighted the achievements in the areas outlined in the Strategic Plan. Most visible among them has been the expansion of services beyond the examinations and certification processes. Vigorous participation in regional and international fora has led to heightened visibility of the CXC and better awareness of our stakeholders about the CXC’s role in shaping the development of the region through curriculum and teaching modalities. The role and importance of a robust TVET curriculum was given priority by CXC and the conceptual work done by the CXC on the mix between the cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills has also been shared with stakeholders in Africa and Asia, and we look forward to working with regional partners to strengthen TVET in the Caribbean.

The increased use of information technology in the work of CXC has also impacted very positively on operations and in how we interface with our stakeholders. The new website, the availability of information about the examinations and certifications processes, and the Registrar’s blog have all been well received by students, teachers, parents and policymakers across the region. The website continues to evolve as more and more information is made available and opportunities for interaction between students and teachers and for the sharing of best practices are provided.

Efforts to increase coverage of countries within the region that do CXC examinations – CSEC and CAPE – have had mixed results. Despite the increased international recognition of the CXC certification processes, including CCSLC, there remain some countries in the region that utilise alternative non-regional examination schemes. This remains a work in progress.

One of the key challenges in the region has been the resourcing of public education at all levels. Diversification of income remains a constant focal area not just for the CXC, but also for all regional institutions.

Articulation between the various levels of the education system in the region also varies across countries and this poses some difficulties for students moving from one level to another. Work is currently underway to develop a regional harmonised qualifications framework that provide for comparison of qualifications between countries; intra-regional mobility of labour and students; transparency of national qualifications systems; potential for international recognition of national qualifications; and better match between the needs of the labour market and education and training provision. The CXC has been playing a key role in that process.

All of the achievements referred to above would not be possible without the dedicated teams at CXC Headquarters in Barbados and at the Western Zone Office in Jamaica. I am sure that the Registrar and Pro-Registrar join me in saying that none of this is possible without the support of a stellar staff. I thank each of you for all that you have done and continue to do. Let us continue to help shape the region’s development and continue to develop ourselves in the process.

Professor E. Nigel Harris