A YOUNG Dumfriesshire parliamentarian has slammed the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) over its prevailing exam fiasco.
Cameron Greer, who represents the region at the Scottish Youth Parliament, voiced concerns this week over the alternative certification model being used to determine pupils’ final grades in the wake of cancelled exams due to Covid.
Following controversies over a similar system last year, Mr Greer said the exam board’s failure to come up with a better solution “feels like history is repeating itself”.
He added: “I think serious change needs to come about, with pupils and teachers being put at the forefront of the decisions made about the system they are a part of. Pupils and teachers no longer trust the education system, and this is for a very good reason.”
Concern amongst students, parents and teaching professionals has grown in recent months after it was revealed that local authorities will compare provisional grades to schools’ and pupils’ past performance to identify irregularities and take action on them.
The MSYP says this is “exactly what happened last year”, adding: “The only difference between the algorithm and this plan is that under this plan, local authorities will be responsible for manually doing the algorithm’s job.”
And he recalled one of his constituents told him that knowing he could be downgraded, even with an unconditional offer, made the whole process feel like a “waste of time”.
Mr Greer continued: “These testimonies of my constituents are deeply worrying and upsetting. This is being replicated all over Scotland, and not a single student or teacher is surprised. This is what we have all become used to: an education system that doesn’t help us, doesn’t support us, doesn’t listen to us. Even worse, they listen and then disregard what young people have to say.
“Young people are growing impatient and discontent with education authorities in Scotland. If history repeats itself again this year, it is feared that many students will lose confidence entirely and there is a growing consensus that education is in urgent need of reform.
“I’d also like to invite the SQA, the Education Secretary, Education Scotland and other education authorities to listen to young people through the Scottish Youth Parliament. Young people put us in the Scottish Youth Parliament to stand up for them, and that is exactly what we intend to do on this issue until we get the changes that young people need to be able to live healthily and happily.”
Confirmed grades are expected to be communicated to pupils on August 10.