Thursday, April 23, 2009

BECE takes off with drama

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu Billa Quansah

As expected, the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) ended smoothly on Friday, but not without drama in many parts of the country.

While some candidates were able to do justice to all the 10 papers, others could not. Worse still, there were candidates who never had the opportunity to take part in the examination, although they had paid their registration fees, while some females had to fall out simply because they were pregnant. 

The very courageous ones among the pregnant went to the examination halls with their protruding stomachs to write the papers. 

On a rather sad note, there were some registered candidates who did not turn up to write the exams because they passed away before the commencement of the exams.

Most of the centres received their question papers on time, while others did not. For those centres which did not receive their papers on time, there were times when the candidates left the centres between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

In the Nkoranza District in the Brong Ahafo Region, for instance, it was reported that eight female candidates who wrote their papers at the Yefri Junior High School Centre were pregnant but they went to write their papers.

That came to light when the Nkoranza District Director of Education and the Public Relations Officer of the directorate, Nana Adu Baffoe Adade, visited the five centres in the district to monitor the examination.

Reports reaching the Ghana Education Service (GES) indicated that at the Nkoranza Secondary Technical School Centre, seven candidates were said to have absented themselves without any reason, while a female candidate, Rebecca Kyeremaa of the Akuma District Assembly Junior High School Centre, was reported to have died on February 27, this year when her school was conducting its mock examination.

The situation was not different in Swedru in the Central Region where four female candidates who wrote the exams at the various centres were found to be pregnant. Two of them wrote the exams while the others absented themselves.

There was a tremendous increase in the number of candidates who wrote the BECE in the Northern Region. A report by the Northern Regional Director of Education, Madam Elizabeth A. Desuza, and the Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Sumani Nanyina, indicated that last year 14,462 candidates sat for the examination, while this year over 21,662 took part. 

At the Business Senior High School Examination Centre, it was reported that a female candidate could not write the examination because she was delivered of a baby.

According to Madam Desuza, the increase in the number of candidates for this year was due to the introduction of the capitation grant that helped to retain students in school

The GES also ruled that it was impossible for the 106 students of the Christ the King Junior High School (JHS) at Ayigya in Kumasi whose head teacher failed to register them for this year's BECE to write the examination. 

The Kumasi Metropolitan Director of Education, Mrs Gladys Amaning, made it known that the students had been technically ruled out of writing the West African Examinations Council (WAEC)-organised examination, since they did not have continuous assessment and registration and index numbers which were mandatory requirements for the BECE.

She said following the alleged misappropriation of the registration fees of the students by the school authorities, the GES, in collaboration with the parents of the affected students and stakeholders, held an emergency meeting to deliberate on the issue and reached a consensus that the affected students be distributed among some schools in the metropolis to enable them to register for next year's examination. 

According to the GES, the head teacher and the proprietor of the school who misappropriated the students' registration fees had been remanded into prison custody by a circuit court in Kumasi.

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