Posted by: nastylittletruths | May 12, 2008

The Great CAPE Caper

At least four thousand children affected by the decision to recall the CAPE test papers scheduled to start from this week. The Communication Studies exam written last week has to be re-done. Yes, you parents who were willing to pay up to TT$5,000 for your child to get an undue advantage over his or her peers, congratulations. Be proud that your children will be model students learning at the feet of their masters – growing up ready and willing to cheat, lie and steal to get what they want – just like you.

For those not in the know and trying to figure out the rant, the story broke last week that CAPE (the Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examinations which replaced Cambridge A’Levels) test papers on Communication Studies were sold to students in advance of the exams for the whopping sum mentioned above for an original paper. This was last week – one exam paper – then yesterday the Express, who broke the story, revealed that other papers were also being circulated via email. The CXC (Caribbean Examinations Board) had no choice but to step in and take this drastic action. And yes, if you are wondering, it’s only in Trinidad… The rest of the Caribbean Islands will proceed as normal.

My first reaction was, who can afford this sum? The general consensus, however, is that money may have been pooled by a few to share the cost. I questioned this too because I would expect human nature to make someone hide the fact they are planning to cheat. Have we changed our norms of behaviour so much where it is acceptable to be a cheat? We get in groups with like-minded individuals and decide how to proceed with plans and arrangements to pay? My word, I don’t even jump a place in line because that’s cheating…

What about the majority of students who made their study timetable and were preparing to write these critical exams? This is the final hurdle before moving on to university or going straight to the world of work while taking some time to decide their career path. Because of a few, in pursuit of selfish gain, everyone else have to suffer. I see that the police were on the case, but knowing our guys, I don’t have much hope. And even if they were caught, what pray tell will be the charge and what is the maximum sentence if found guilty? I can’t begin to think what should be the punishment for this – especially if the parents are found to be the key culprits. 

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