Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tight security for WASSCE

SCHOOL heads and teachers are taking extra precaution to ensure that the ongoing 2013 May/June West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) ends without incidents in their respective schools.
To accomplish this task, the examination centres are always packed with supervisors and invigilators who are and supported by the heads/assistant headmasters/mistresses in charge of academic work.
Aside the school security, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has also been provided with   Police personnel at all the examination  centres.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
When the Junior Graphic visited the Accra High, Accra Academy, West Africa Senior High, Presbyterian Boys, Legon, Labone Senior, Presbyterian  SHS, Osu, Accra Girls, St John's Grammar and St Thomas Aquinas, among other schools, there was either an armed police man or woman at post to ensure that security was not compromised.
In addition, some of the schools have gone an extra mile to acquire body scanners to enable them detect any foreign materials on candidates.
At the Accra High School, for instance, the male teachers were seen scanning the bodies of the male students while the female teachers searched the female students.
The Assistant Headmistress in charge of Academic at the St Aquinas SHS, Ms Marian Grant, in an interview, said the number of candidates was very high and being a single sex school (boys), some of the students could easily pull a fast one on teachers and "this is the reason why you can count almost 10 teachers at the examination hall just to ensure that candidates do not do anything that will lead to the cancellation of the school's results to bring shame to us."
Some of the candidates who spoke to the Junior Graphic after their English Language paper at St John’s Grammar said the security in the examination halls was so tight that there was no room for cheating.

New guidlines for 2013 school placement

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah
The Ghana Education Service (GES) has introduced new guidelines for the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) to ensure that qualified Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) candidates for  2013 are placed in second cycle schools.
The guidelines for this year will have all second cycle institutions grouped into five options. The public senior high schools (SHSs) are in category one, two and three while the public technical and vocational institutes are in category four. All approved private schools, both SHS and technical/vocational institutes, are in option five.
According to the National Co-ordinator of the CSSPS, Mr Samuel Oppong, parents who  would want their children to attend day schools  should choose day schools only or schools that provide day facilitates closer to their areas of residence.
Mr Oppong explained that there is the need  for candidates to  get  guidance  from their parents or guardians and school authorities before choosing schools .
"Candidates must choose four schools  from category one to four and select programmes and corresponding accommodation in each school of choice".
He said students must not choose one school twice or select all choices from one option. "If candidates do not abide by this simple regulation, it will be difficult for them to get placement," he added.
Mr Oppong said candidates who  would want to pursue purely technical/vocational programmes would have to select all their choices from option four while candidates who desire to pursue their courses in private schools could decide to choose all four  schools from the private school option.
"There are second cycle schools that have facilities for special education for the physically  challenged and visually impaired candidates, therefore, parents with children with those disabilities must endeavour to look out for those schools alone for selection," he added.

WAEC investigates leakage of papers

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has requested the National Security to investigate into the leakage of some papers in the ongoing 2013 May/June West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
On Monday, April 29, WAEC announced the cancellation of the Government One and Two papers which they believed had been compromised.
The Head of Test Administration at WAEC, Mr Felix Akuffo-Badoo, in an interview  told the Junior Graphic that the council was patiently waiting for the security agency to complete their investigations to enable his outfit know exactly what brought about the leakage.
"We took extra precaution to ensure that the ongoing WASSCE ends without incidents in the various senior high schools (SHSs) but what happened during the Government paper is unfortunate".
Asked whether the investigations would be conducted into other subject areas as well, he replied in the negative. “It will be based on just the Government papers during which  some candidates were found with materials which suggested that the two papers had been compromised".
"So far we are 100 per cent sure that the rest of the papers which had been written did not leak in anyway," he added.
He urged candidates not to give up but rather prepare for the papers which would be re-administered from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, May 17, 2013.
When the Junior Graphic visited Accra High, Accra Academy, West Africa Senior High, Presbyterian Boys, Legon; Labone SHS, Presbyterian  SHS, Osu; Accra Girls, St John's Grammar and St Thomas Aquinas, to mention a few schools, on Tuesday morning, there was either an armed policeman or woman at post, to ensure that security was not compromised.
The Headmaster of Ngleshi Amanfrom SHS, Mr Edmund Botchway, in an interview, said it was rather unfortunate that there was a leakage of questions during the Government papers, despite the tight security in almost all the schools.
"Students are simply impossible!  in this day of social media and other platforms they go to all lengths to get question papers, despite the pieces of advice and tuition we suffer to give them".
Some of the affected candidates who spoke with the Junior Graphic, lamented that they studied very hard to write the Government papers without getting wind of any questions. Others also confirmed that they received some of the questions from their friends through the social media like WhatsApp and Facebook.


The 2013 West African Senior Secondary  Certificate Examination (WASSCE) came to an end last Friday, with candidates expressing mixed feelings. While  some candidates wrote all their papers uninterrupted, those studying Government had their papers cancelled and had to rewrite it.
Besides this, WASSCE officially brought the four-year Senior High School (SHS) programme to an end.  Some of the students who wrote the Government exam  claimed the cancelled papers were less difficult than the second one they wrote. However, others said it was 'cool chop'.
At exactly 9:00 am on Friday, those rewriting  Government Paper One and Two started the examination and ended at 12.45 p.m., giving way to those doing Home Economics to bring the curtain of this year's examination down at 5:00 p.m. , amidst screaming, dancing and pouring  of  water and powder on  each other, signifying the end of their secondary education.
When the Junior Graphic went round some of the senior high schools (SHS), the compounds were very quiet as continuing students were on vacation, leaving just a handful of candidates who were seen packing their belongings.
At the Presbyterian Boys' SHS, Legon, some of the students who had completed their papers earlier in the week were seen in queues returning school books, sports kits and other property of  the school.
For some students of the Accra High School and PRESEC Osu, the final day of the examination was a time for them to make merry and take memorable photographs with their mates before parting ways.
In all, a total of 409,832 candidates, the highest number so far in the history of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), from 742 public and private schools wrote  the examination.

Profile — David Dontoh

Ghana's finest actor
Acting  was never part of his dream. He  became one by  accident. Yet, he is currently one of the best actors the country has ever had, with many  awards under his sleeves.
 Just like every child with big dreams, young David wanted to become a medical doctor. Unfortunately his dreams were dashed when he failed to make the grades after Sixth Form to qualify  for  medical school.
Frustrated as he was then, David Tontoh, one of Ghana’s finest actors, decided to rewrite the exam to better his grades. It was during that time that he was contracted to do some illustrations  for a book called "Agriculture in the Tropics" for one Dr Olean Hess, who was then one of the directors of the USAID. He  recognised  his artistic talents  and commended him.
In a  chat with the Junior Graphic,Mr Dontoh said because he liked drawing, painting, watching films, musical shows and writing poetry, Dr Hess’ comments gingered  him to take acting seriously.
Mr Dontoh said it was just around the same time that the  then Ghana Film Industry Corporation (GFIC) put up an advert for people who wanted to train in film acting.
He went for the  audition and was one of the 40 successful applicants selected out of  150. That was  how he got into the acting profession.
The successful applicants were then trained at the acting academy of the late George Andoh Wilson, who had trained at the London Guild Hall School of Drama and was in charge of  the Osagyefo players for three years.
During the training, Mr Tondoh had the chance of taking part in a small play titled – GUS – the theatre cat written by T. S. Elliot.
The play was showcased on TV during the Mike Hagan show where Mr Wilson was being interviewed as a celebrity .He performed the lead role in  GUS so well such that, Mike Hagan’s praises   further convinced him that he could act well.
Today, the acting profession which he saw as a menial career when he was a student has opened doors to higher places for him across the globe.
Asked how he came by his household name "Ghanaman",  he laughed heartily and said in 1982  a theatre group was formed to replace Osofo Dadzie which went off air after the unrest. The group was known as "KETEKE," a drama group which was on air for about one and a half years.
"The name was later changed to Obra  and became a  very popular TV programme  which earned me the name Ghanaman which  I have accepted affectionately", he smiled. Members of the Obra Drama group at that time were Maame Dokono, Station Master, Dr Rokoto, Esi Kom among others.
He got the chance of  auditioning for a full feature film when King Ampaw of AFRO MOSES Ghana Limited shot their film, "Kukurantumi" – The Road To Accra." The film was the first Ghanaian film to be screened on TV in Europe.
It was after this film that he started working on radio programmes. On GBC  Two for instance, he started as a stringer on Carl Agyeman-Bannerman’s programme, "Solid Black".
He also took part in radio theatre with presenters like Tony Annan Forson, Charlie Sam, the late James Amartey and Gertrude Opare Addo.
Looking younger than his age, Mr Dontoh who loves wearing  African clothes disclosed that he would be celebrating his 60th birthday next year, in December.
He had his elementary education in Cape Coast, Winneba and Abakranpa, all in the Central Region. He then continued to Apam Secondary School from Form One to Upper Six. For the Sixth Form, he read Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics.
Though a science student, he loved the arts subjects as well so at the O'Level he studied nine subjects. "In fact, in 1975  I was one of  the best Geography students in the whole country and so had distinction. However, my biggest blow was when I was not selected at the university to read medicine. It is all good, because I don't regret being an actor. Actors just don't entertain but also heal people and impart knowledge as well," he explained.
Mr Dontoh, who loves to uphold the traditional beliefs and practices of Ghana, lamented that "children of today are not humble and ready to learn. They always want to have their way".
Sharing his childhood experiences, he said his mother was a fish monger so he also sold some of the fish to enable him to buy his textbooks for school. "My sister, I have done a lot of trading. I have sold vegetables, doughnuts, bread, fish, among others, yet I found time to study.
Along the line in his career, Mr Dontoh did  Drama and Theatre Studies (From 1985 to 1988) at the School of Performing Arts, University of Ghana, Legon. He majored in playwriting.
He and his wife, Rebecca, are blessed with two children, Jojo and Ewurama.
David Dontoh runs his own company "Golden Kauri" and an NGO, Kaurifire Arts Foundation. He founded three theatre groups that he works with. They are KOZIKOZI Theatre Company, Edzikanfo Concert Party and David Dontoh Cultural Ensemble (DADON CULEN).
Mr Dontoh currently hosts his own television programme, Agrofie, which is aimed at projecting African values.

Give us sign language examiners — Deaf students plead

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah
 Students of the Demonstration School for the Deaf, Mampong-Akuapem, have appealed to the Ghana Education Service and the West African Examinations Council to provide all deaf students in the country with professional sign language examiners to  mark their final examination papers.
The candidates, who are warming up for the upcoming BECE, lamented that currently their BECE answer papers were marked by able examiners who did not often appreciate the disability of the children.
 The candidates made the appeal when the Junior Graphic visited the school to find out how prepared the candidates were.
The headmistress of the school, Mrs Regina Danquah, in an interview lent support to the call of the students. She said currently the deaf candidates were  given 30 minutes extra to enable them to complete their work “unfortunately, there are some invigilators who do not wait for the 30 extra minutes to lapse and then collect their papers,” she explained.
Mrs Danquah said processing information was  a big challenge to their students therefore, answering questions in English Language was always problematic because they needed an interpreter of the sign language to guide and provide them with further explanation.
The headmistress further appealed to the Computerised Schools and Selection and Placement Secretariat (CSSPS) to always place children with disabilities in schools with facilities for their special needs.
The deaf candidates, who are exceptionally good in Information Communication Technology (ICT), the sciences and calculations, said they were well prepared to write all the five subjects required of them. 

Candidates set for BECE

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah
Junior high school (JHS) candidates across the country are all set for the impending Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) which begins  on June 17.
In all 391,079 candidates are expected to sit for the examination at 1,378 examination centres.
In order to make this year's examination incident free, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has arranged for 1,378 Supervisors, 1, 297 Assistant Supervisors and 13,714 invigilators.
The number of participating schools is 11,778. The regional  breakdown across the country is as follows; Greater Accra: 34,321 males and 35,776 females making up 70,097.
The Eastern Region has 21,157 males, 17,592 females totaling 38,749. The Central Region has 21,801 males and 18,719 females totalling 40,520.
The Western Region has 21,123 and 17,963 males and females respectively adding up to 39,086. Ashanti Region has the highest candidature with 41,110 males and 37,238 females also totalling 78,348.
The Brong Ahafo Region has 19,802 males, 15,996 making  35,798. Volta Region registered 16,545 males and 12,540 females making 29,085.
A total of 32,100 candidates registered in the Northern Region with 19,065 males and 13,035 females. The Upper East Region entered 5,603 males and 4,699 making  10,302 in all. The Upper West Region which has the lowest number of candidates has 5,603 males and 4,699 females totalling 10,302.
This year's BECE will be written within a period of six days with the first day papers being English Language One and Two and Social Studies One. Social Studies Two  and Integrated Science One and Two will be written on June 18 while  Mathematics One, Two and Basic Design and Technology (BDT) One will be written on June 19.
On June 20, the candidates will write BDT Two, Religious and Moral Education One and Two. Ghanaian Language and Culture One and Two ,and French One comes off on June 21.
The final papers, which will be written on June 24, are  French Two and Information Communication  Technology One and Two.