Bandwidth Issues Prone To Disrupt Exams

For students in public schools in Jamaica, the CSEC and CAPE exams are just a few weeks away but for some private institutions, these examinations begin as early as next week. However, problems appear to be looming with those who have opted to undertake online exams with bandwidth issues delaying mock exams while creating anxiety for the administrators. One private school principal explained to CVM LIVE how his students are affected.

“Yesterday caused a lot of delays, delays in students starting the exams with certain images not opening,” says Principal of Chippy’s Tutoring Services, Damion Chippy.

The Education Ministry has a number of websites that are zero-rated which allows students and teachers access to much-needed material. One of these websites is called schoology.com. Mr. Chippy, however, disclosed that he had issues accessing Schoology.

“In fact, schoology at one point bumped off everybody. It is as if schoology recognised that the bandwidth which is not enough to carry the exams,” he added.

Mr. Chippy says the experience with mock exams on Sunday has brought new concerns about how many students can be logged in to an exam on an internet connection at any point.

“I now have to rethink whether or not to abort the online examination or if the CXC does have a measure to facilitate me,” he said. ” So, if they do the exam offline and after they can upload it to whatever medium.”

He believes that the government needs to implement new policies to deal with bandwidth issues and internet challenges across the island as the education ministry plans to move exams into the digital space.

“In my view, I think that the government should step in knowing the intention of CXC. They should step in now where they can allow minimal cost for a school to have proper bandwidth so that we can use the online experience in school much more seamlessly.”

In 2018, the education ministry announced that Jamaican students sitting CXC subjects would soon be required to take some aspects of their examinations online as part of the CXC learning hub-and- with CXC already marking online the aim was to introduce this system by 2023. However, present concerns appear to show limited access to the internet plus connection and bandwidth issues which must be fixed for this plan to work.