Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Drama at BECE

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 missed 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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 were not registered with index numbers which were mandatory requirements for the BECE.

In Accra, the police arrested an examination supervisor and two teachers for allegedly leaking Mathematics Paper Two of this year’s BECE. The three are Wisdom Kokroko, the supervisor at the Fadama ‘A’ Centre, Musa Bukari and Donaldbell Gabada, both teachers of the King and Queen 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.

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. School at Abeka.

On Friday, candidates defied the heavy downpour after their last paper and danced around the various centres to celebrate their first hurdle on the educational ladder. 

This year’s BECE began throughout the country on Monday, April 20, 2009 and ended on April 24, with 395,582 candidates from 9,502 junior high schools writing the various papers. 

Cheating at WASSCE — Alavanyo students face music

For allegedly cheating in the ongoing West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), candidates of the Alavanyo Senior High School (SHS) in the Volta Region have been made to face the music.

For their punishment, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has relocated all the candidates to the Nkonya Senior High School to write the rest of their papers there.

The Head of Examination at WAEC, Mr Nyamekye Aidoo, in an interview with the Junior Graphic, said the council acted upon a tip-off by an anonymous caller that candidates of the Alavanyo SHS were seen with photocopies of the Mathematics paper long before the paper was written.

According to him, the caller explained that the students were usually seen with some of the question papers but they handled them so well that when they saw external supervisors, they hid everything.

“Upon the tip-off, we dispatched some of our men to go to the school to ascertain the situation. Afterwards, the council decided that since there are more papers to be written, the school’s centre should be withdrawn immediately to prevent future occurrences,” he stated.

Mr Aidoo said the conduct of the candidates was quite upsetting, as students had been warned before the commencement of the examination to follow the dos and don’ts regarding the conduct of the council’s examinations.

“What students do not know is that when they involve in collusion and are not even caught in the course of the examination, examiners can still detect all those who indulged in the malpractice during the marking of the scripts,” he added.

He warned that the council had started publishing the names of candidates who got involved in examination malpractice such as leaks, mass cheating, collusion, impersonation, bringing in foreign materials and irregular activities inside or outside the examination hall.

Mr Aidoo explained that some of the penalties for such offences were the entire cancellation of results, the barring of candidates from taking examinations conducted by the council for not less than two years and prosecution.

In all, 157,997 candidates from 577 schools are writing this year’s WASSCE.