Caribbean students to benefit from new CXC/Columbus International Cooperation

CXC Registrar Dr Didacus Jules speaking at the signing of the MOU between Columbus Communications and CXC on Thursday, September 5, 2013 at BayHouse Restaurant Antigua & Barbuda (Luanne Isaac Photo)
CXC Registrar Dr Didacus Jules speaking at the signing of the MOU between Columbus Communications and CXC on Thursday, September 5, 2013 at BayHouse Restaurant Antigua & Barbuda (Luanne Isaac Photo)

FREEPORT, THE BAHAMAS – Imagine studying authentic Trinidadian steel pan from the comfort of your living room in Jamaica or learning the history of reggae via a teleclass on your mobile in Japan. This is the world that the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) wants to offer in the not too distance future to students across the region with the help of Columbus International (Columbus).

On Thursday, September 5, 2013, CXC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the telecommunications provider Columbus. This new partnership will see the council benefiting from Columbus’ extensive regional fibre optic and broadband capacity, and utilising its digital television platforms to bring cutting edge classes to students across the Caribbean.

This is the vision that CXC Registrar Dr. Didacus Jules has and which he says is now closer to being a reality because of Columbus. “It is going to push us big time into the digital realm. All of our syllabi will now be online. CXC will be able to offer new generation subjects such as CAPE Music, and CAPE Performing Arts.”

The educator sees the MOU as a symbol of not just a “material alliance but an alliance of ideas.”

Corporate Vice President Sales and Marketing for Columbus Communications Rhea Yaw Ching (right) and General Manager of Columbus Antigua Jamal James (2nd from right) speaks with Visual Art teachers Emile Hill of Pares Secondary School and Nadia Phillips of Ottos Comprehensive School following the launch of CXC's new CAPE Digital Media Syllabus in Antigua. (Luanne Isaac Photo)
Corporate Vice President Sales and Marketing for Columbus Communications Rhea Yaw Ching (right) and General Manager of Columbus Antigua Jamal James (2nd from right) speaks with Visual Art teachers Emile Hill of Pares Secondary School and Nadia Phillips of Ottos Comprehensive School following the launch of CXC’s new CAPE Digital Media Syllabus in Antigua. (Luanne Isaac Photo)

Rhea Yaw Ching, corporate vice president of sales and marketing for Columbus agrees, stating that “Once our network is fully deployed, every single primary and secondary school that our footprint passes, in countries we serve, will receive free Broadband, free educational Cable TV and discounted Telephony services.”

Javeen Tuitt, a 16-year-old recent graduate who now attends the Antigua & Barbuda ICT CADET programme, welcomes the new offerings from CXC. Tuitt, who is presently studying new media with the focus on photography and editing said, courses, such as the new CAPE Digital Media, are a good idea for students who prefer to be more hands on. “It will give them the chance to learn in a way that is more beneficial. When it is more visual they can understand it better than with a teacher standing in the classroom.”

Global changes and the need for Caribbean students to be more competitive and innovative is driving CXC’s push to utilise digital media to deliver more current and value-based courses.

Students will not be the only ones benefiting from this new collaboration with Columbus, Jules shared.

One of the coming initiatives is for the 6000 teachers who mark examination papers annually to be able to do it electronically from home rather than travel to testing centres or to other islands. “It is a logistical challenge each year to move more than 2000 teachers in the span of two weeks across the Caribbean to mark papers. Working with Columbus will allow us to capitalise on their bandwidth access to make this process more cost efficient and seamless,” he explained.

CXC intends to reach out to more stakeholders beyond the various ministries of education. The plan is to utilise Columbus’ capacity to power updated websites with integrated technologies, which will allow the deaf and visually impaired students to be able to access their sites.

“It is extremely rewarding to see how what we offer is translated in the various countries and how young people are transforming their world with our technology,” Yaw Ching said. “We have seen a primary school set up an online radio station. Others have created Wi-Fi zones where lessons are shared on the net, and where teachers create their own teaching aids, using technology. We look forward to seeing what the new generation of courses will bring.”

Media Contact: Solange Bethart, Communications specialist, Columbus, sbethart@columbus.co
Cleveland Sam, CXC Public Information Officer, (246) 227-1892, csam@cxc.org

About Columbus:

Columbus International Inc. is a privately held diversified telecommunications company based in Barbados. The Company provides digital cable television, broadband Internet and digital landline telephony in Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada and Curacao under the brand name FLOW and in St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Antigua under the brand name Karib Cable. Columbus also provides corporate data and cloud based services under the brand Columbus Business Solutions. Through its wholly owned subsidiary, Columbus Networks, the Company provides capacity and IP services, corporate data solutions and data center hosting throughout 42 countries in the greater Caribbean, Central American and Andean region. Through its fully protected, ringed submarine fiber optic network spanning close to 42,300 km and its 26,400 km terrestrial fibre and coaxial network, Columbus’ 2,400 plus professionals provide advanced telecom services to a diverse residential and corporate client base of over 550,000 customers.Visit www.columbus.com

About CXC:

The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is the leading provider of examinations for secondary schools in the Caribbean; providing a suite of examinations to 16 English-speaking territories and three Dutch-speaking islands. Established in 1972, CXC offered its first examinations for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) in 1979. Nineteen years later, in 1998 CXC introduced the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE). Over the last five years, CXC introduced the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC) and the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) to cater to students with a wider range of abilities. In 2012, the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) was introduced to help pupils transition smoothly from primary to secondary school.

CXC has two operational centres, the Headquarters located in Barbados, which is headed by the Registrar and Western Zone Office located in Jamaica, headed by the Pro Registrar.

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Photo Captions: Corporate Vice President Sales and Marketing for Columbus Communications Rhea Yaw Ching (right) and General Manager of Columbus Antigua Jamal James (2nd from right) speaks with Visual Art teachers Emile Hill of Pares Secondary School and Nadia Phillips of Ottos Comprehensive School following the launch of CXC’s new CAPE Digital Media Syllabus in Antigua.

CXC Registrar Dr Didacus Jules speaking at the signing of the MOU between Columbus Communications and CXC on Thursday, September 5, 2013 at BayHouse Restaurant Antigua & Barbuda

Antigua & Barbuda’s Minister of State for Information and Communications Dr Edmond Mansoor, Columbus Antigua GM Jamal James, Corporate Vice President Sales and Marketing for Columbus Communications Rhea Yaw Ching and CXC Registrar Dr Didacus Jules at the GATE ICT CADET Facility in Antigua.

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