A few editions ago we had articles on the graduation exercises at KC which got me thinking back to my days at school.
In those days the standard exam everyone took was the University of Cambridge General Certificate of Education (GCE) at the ordinary or “O” level and Advanced or “A” level for those who went on to sixth form. The exams papers were sent to England for grading and results sent back to Jamaica. A certificate was issued listing each subject you passed.
Just a few years prior, students had to take another type of exam known as the School Certificate with an advanced level Higher School Certificate (HSC) for sixth formers. These were reported to be much more difficult than the GCE exams. The main difference between the GCE and the SC exams was that the GCE catered to a wider range of subjects than the SC. A student could pass one GCE subject with distinction, fail all the others but still receive a certificate for the lone subject. Not so with the School Certificate which required that students pass all the subjects in order to receive a certificate.
Naturally, things have changed a bit since I left school. Today students sit the Caribbean Examinations Council exams: the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) replaced the GCE ordinary level and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam (CAPE) replaced the GCE advanced level.
Nowadays, there is a Valedictory Service at KC for students who complete the 5th form / grade 11. These students all receive a school leaving certificate. Later, for those who meet the criteria, including satisfactory scores on the screen test, a graduation ceremony is also held.
There was no graduation ceremony when I left school. We simply collected our GCE certificates and said goodbye.
Some 156 students qualified for the graduation program held at KC this past June where the guest speaker was KCOB and Attorney, David Batts. His remarks to the students were published in the July edition of the newsletter:
Graduation Speech 2011
This month we are featuring some of the students with the best results in the recent CSEC and CAPE exams.