The Virgin Islands hosted the CXC Regional Top Awards Ceremony for the second time, facilitating the semi-virtual ceremony last Thursday afternoon.
An in-person ceremony was held at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, with dignitaries giving speeches and awards presented virtually as about a dozen students and teachers cheered without leaving their seats in the auditorium.
Flags for each member country were carried in by the VI Cadet Corps at the beginning of the ceremony.
Besides the VI, countries and territories represented included Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Though about 20 students from around the region were honoured during the ceremony, no VI student was among them.
Toriah Pryce, a student at the Bregado Flax Educational Centre, performed the territorial song.
Deputy Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley opened the ceremony by expressing the VI’s continued commitment to the CXC.
“As a founding member of the Caribbean Examination Council, it gives us great pride in the British Virgin Islands to host the ceremony as it signals our continuing and unwavering commitment to this regional and globally competitive organisation,” he said. “Since 1988, CXC has honoured candidates for their outstanding performances in examinations. This year’s virtual ceremony demonstrates the organisation’s adaptability.”
The VI set a precedent by becoming the first territory to host fully virtual exams following hurricanes in 2017, he said.
The tests were again held virtually last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The CXC is currently undergoing an “e-transformation” that will modernise its CXC Learning Hub over the next five years, according to Wayne Wesley, registrar and CEO of CXC, who tuned in virtually from Barbados.
The changes will allow both in-school students and at-home students to access the same materials and learning support, he explained.
He added that the CXC also aims to build capacity among teachers.
“Students will also have more flexibility in the scheduling of examinations and will be able to benefit from remote testing using methods such as secure browser encryption and penetration testing,” he said. “We will ensure that our cybersecurity environment is preserving the integrity of our examinations as we move toward a digital environment and platform.”
Mr. Wesley thanked the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture for hosting the event.
“Thank you for committing your resources for this annual event that acknowledges the hard work and dedication of these most outstanding students,” he said.
He also commented on the “resilience” and “steadfastness” of the territory.
ECYAFA Permanent Secretary Dr. Marcia Potter, who also serves as the executive chair of the CXC, commented on how the CXC has grown over the years.
“Last year, we embarked on our current five-year strategic plan,” she said. “This enterprise requires the collaborative efforts of all of our member countries.”