Monday, May 31, 2010

Singing cop to grab GMA award?

By Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah

His grand appearance on the music scene has been as surprising as it is fascinating. Not only has Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Kofi Sarpong broken barriers as a security officer and musician; he also has mass appeal for his inspiring songs, dancing skills and elegant dress sense.

It is not unusual to see policemen singing in public — the Police Central Band has been an integral part of society and has been seen at state and private functions for many years. However, DSP Sarpong is perhaps the first security officer who has gone public in music production. And just a few months on the music scene, the ‘Singing Cop’ has already carved a niche for himself and his debut album, Sacrifice, is enjoying massive airplay and is high up the music chart.

Ayeyi Ndwom, one of the tracks on the album, is currently fifth on the popular Adom FM Top 20 Music Chart published by the Graphic Showbiz, an indication of the popularity of his music.

That Sacrifice connects well with music fans is the result of the craftsmanship of songwriters such as Kwabena Akwaboa,  Michael 'O.J.' Oware Sakyi and Kwesi Ernest who wrote some of the songs an the album and the handiwork of some renowned recording engineers such as Zapp Mallet, Nacy, Collins T and Shadrack Yawson.

The end result of every great album is usually massive airplay, good sales and possibly awards. The appeal of the Sacrifice album culminated in DSP Sarpong receiving nominations in three categories for tonight’s 11th Ghana Music Awards, with the hit song, Ayeyi Ndwon, listed for the enviable Gospel Song of the Year award.

Not many gospel artistes rise to such prominence within a short time and to be nominated for both the Gospel Artiste of the Year and the Discovery of the Year awards is the ultimate endorsement for DSP Sarpong by the connoisseurs of the music industry and the general public.

Ironically, although currently rated among the giants in the gospel music industry, DSP Sarpong is not a member of the Police Band but rather the officer in charge of Supplies at the Police Headquarters in Accra. 

One significant thing about DSP Sarpong, the aide-de-camp to the former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong, is that he appears at ease, effectively combining two professions — policing and music. 

Last week Thursday when The Mirror visited the ‘Singing Cop’ at his office at the Police Headquarters for him to throw more light on his new-found career, the young and smart-looking police officer was busy behind his desk attending to procurement issues.

Sporting a grey suit with a light peach shirt to match, he opened up to The Mirror concerning his music career and new-found fame but the hearty conversation was interrupted by constant knocks on his door by other police officers who needed his services. 

That was enough evidence that DSP Sarpong is a busy man. Therefore, taking on another demanding and challenging work like music was the story The Mirror wanted him to share with readers.

DSP Sarpong’s passion for singing and dancing is an open secret to his colleagues who have worked with him in the Police Service for the past 14 years. Reminiscing on his days with the former IGP, he said the former police chief often allowed him to display his talent at public functions, to the admiration of the audience, adding that those opportunities opened the door to his new career.

 “Sometimes when I escorted him to social functions, he told the audience, ‘There is a policeman here who likes to sing for free so I would like him to perform two songs for you.’ Then I will do it,” he explained.

 It is no surprise, therefore, that he is a member of all the singing groups at the Rev Dr Thomas Nantomah Memorial Presbyterian Church at Kanda, where he fellowships.

“I am the reserved type. Therefore, when I am not policing, I am in my church quietly singing and dancing. I am the band leader, choir secretary and president of the Anointed Voices, therefore I always have something to do,” he explained.

He was quick to add that music is just a hobby, for which reason he tries as much as possible not to let it have precedence over his profession as a police officer.

 How, then, did he venture into professional music? 

DSP Sarpong explained that after singing at a friend’s wedding, he was approached by Mr Ernest Kwasi Ennin, who is now his Executive Producer, to record him.

“In fact, that was two-and-a-half years ago but I told him I was a policeman and couldn’t go commercial. However, he kept pushing. Therefore, I decided to write a letter to the Police Administration for permission. My sister, I swear I knew it wouldn’t be possible and that was why I did it, so I could show the refusal letter to Ernest to get him off my back. Incredibly, it was endorsed and here I am everywhere performing to glorify God,” he said.

Fame comes at a price and DSP Sarpong has his fair share of the downside of celebrity status. He spoke fondly of how he drove around freely in the past and ate virtually anywhere with friends. However, fame has put limitations on his movement and some habits.

 “The little fame I’ve attained is making it impossible for me to enjoy my favourite ‘konkonte’ around the GBC Club House. Now when I do so people point fingers at me,” he said amidst giggles.

A native of Berekum in the Brong Ahafo Region, DSP Sarpong, the third of four children, holds a Diploma in Purchasing and Supplies from the United Kingdom. 

His education commenced at the Berekum Methodist Primary, from where he proceeded to the Berekum Secondary School (BESS) for his Ordinary Level education, after which he enlisted into the Ghana Police Service in 1996.

His first station was the Quarter Master’s Office at the Police Headquarters. After furthering his education, he was promoted from a Constable to an Inspector, after which he proceeded to the Police College. Upon completion, he was transferred to the Police Hospital and put in charge of the stores.

By dint of hard work, he was selected on a peacekeeping mission in The Sudan. There, he was the Chief of Logistics for the Police Civil Component for a year.

DSP Sarpong, who is very fond of his mother, Madam Comfort Yeboah, alias Yaa Seikwa, is married to Salomey, with whom he has two children — Nana Nketiah and Maa Afia Yeboah Sarpong.

He expressed gratitude to the entire Police Administration which granted him the opportunity to show his talent.

His hobbies are dancing and cooking. Indeed, the Singing Cop waxes lyrical about his culinary skills. “I can cook anything — from kenkey, banku, konkonte, fufu to rice, which is the simplest. In fact, when I was a Constable and not married at the Osu Barracks, I used to sit in front of my kitchen to prepare banku and konkonte to the admiration of all the women.” 

Give him a bowl of konkonte with groundnut soup and a little okra anytime and he will be thankful to you.

Unilever Ghana embarks on national campaign

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah

Unilever Ghana is embarking on a nation-wide campaign to encourage children to observe good oral care by brushing their teeth at least twice daily.

The campaign, which has been officially launched, is dubbed, “The Close Up Day and Night Brushing Campaign”.

Launching the campaign, the Head of Unilever Ghana’s Brand Building Team, Mr Akofa Ata, said the campaign aimed at creating a new long-term habit of children and parents brushing their teeth day and night.

“The experts recognise that twice daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste is the most beneficial behaviour for children to prevent tooth decay, boost their self-confidence and prevent the expenses that tooth decay can cause,” he explained.

Mr Ata stated that the Close Up Day and Night Campaign would be embarked on in about 1,500 schools country-wide, adding that Close Up would also work hand in hand with the Ghana Dental Association (GDA), the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the media to educate the general public on the importance of keeping healthy teeth.

He explained that the company’s focus would be more on children in first-cycle schools, adding, “Our aim is to engage the kids at an early age in order to build this habit as part of their daily routine.”

In the course of the academic year, he said, Unilever teams would visit some selected schools within the country to educate the pupils on the correct way of brushing the teeth.

During the launch, a video on the campaign revolving around two characters, Max and Oliver, was shown. In the video, a father and his son, Max and Oliver, share tips and tricks on how to make brushing an enjoyable act instead of a boring one.

Headmaster writes BECE

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah

THE Headmaster of Mawuli International School at Akwatia has been arrested on suspicion of posing as a candidate in the ongoing Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).

John Ahiale, 36, who was smartly dressed in school uniform, was spotted by one of the supervisors sitting behind a desk, with index number 212101003, at the St Rose’s Senior High School Centre.

He is alleged to have registered as a candidate.

The suspect, however, claimed that he was just writing the papers for himself, notwithstanding his age, profession and position as headmaster.

The acting Director of the Test Administration Division of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Mr Kweku Nyamekye-Aidoo, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic yesterday, said a supervisor had confronted Ahiale to ascertain his real identity because of his size and age.

He said it was some of the candidates who disclosed Ahiale’s identity as a headmaster and not a student.

Mr Nyamekye-Aidoo explained that Ahiale was able to write the first day's papers on Monday — English Language Paper One and Two and Social Studies Paper One.

"He was, however, stopped from writing Social Studies Paper Two on Tuesday morning because we are convinced he might have registered for a candidate who bears the same name like his and was writing for that candidate," he indicated.

Mr Nyamekye-Aidoo said the Ahiale had been handed over to the Akwatia Police for further investigation.

The Akwatia District Police Commander, DSP Nana Yawson, confirmed to the Daily Graphic that the suspect was in police custody.

He, however, said the police intended to grant Ahiale bail to continue with the examination because WAEC had confirmed that he duly registered for the BECE.

He wondered why someone who authenticated the registration of candidates for the examination would himself register for the same examination.

DSP Yawson said the police would collaborate with WAEC and the Ghana Education Service to get to the bottom of the matter.

The BECE enters its third day today, with candidates left with four more papers to write. They are Mathematics, Basic Design and Technology, Ghanaian Language and French.

In all, 350,888 candidates from 10,016 schools are participating in this year’s BECE, which ends on Friday.

Micro labs for all basic schools

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah      

Government is to introduce the first-ever micro laboratories in all first cycle schools across the country.

The Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Education, Mr Paul Kofi Krampa,  who disclosed this to the Junior Graphic, said the micro lab project would begin on a pilot basis in 100 selected schools across the country by the end of the year.

He explained that the project was initiated by the government to promote the study of science at the basic level of education.

“Making science a key programme in our educational curriculum is one of the issues raised by the President, Professor J.E.A. Mills, during the State of the Nation address this year,” he added.

Mr Krampa said the micro lab would have simple and unbreakable kits which would be suitable for children in the lower and upper primary school levels.

He said although schoolchildren were introduced to science as a subject at the basic school level, the schools did not have  basic science kits to enable the children conduct their own experiments.

This is the reason why schoolchildren are not interested in learning the sciences these days. However, as parents or teachers, it is our responsibility to encourage our children to get interested in the sciences at an early age,” he stressed.

According to him, most children believed that learning science was a mystery, “even though science is happening around us every day. We need to use these things to develop children’s interest and knowledge.”

Mr Krampa said the experiments would be based on specific age groupings and was hopeful that when such experiments were conducted at such early stages, they would boost the children’s confidence in the sciences.

He stated that schools which would be selected on the pilot programme would be monitored carefully to make them successful. 

Mr Krampa said the rest of the schools would be included after the pilot programme.

Major rehabilitation of Science Centres

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah

All National Science Resource Centres (NSRC) in senior high schools (SHS) across the country are to go through a major    rehabilitation.

The Minister of Education, Mr Alex Tettey-Enyo in an interview, said the rehabilitation works had become necessary as almost all the 110 NSRC lacked various equipment which were essential for the study of science in the SHSs.

“The NRSC were put up in the early 90s but had not seen any major rehabilitation exercise nor been re-equipped to conform with modern demands in the study of science,” he added.

He stated that the sole aim of establishing the NSRC was to make science more attractive to students and also to enable schools which did not have laboratory facilities move to those with the resource centres for their practical lessons.

Mr Tettey-Enyo, further explained that due to the lack of basic science facilities, like the microscope, laboratory stools and apparatus for practical lessons, most students did not want to study the science programmes. 

“Normally when you ask some of the students to select science, you will hear them saying that science is too difficult. This is because the facilities are not available for them to experiment to see how easy science could be when the appropriate facilities are there from the basic level,” he said.

He added that the various science subjects such as physics, chemistry and biology were supposed to be more  practical than theory and, therefore, when the facilities were not in the laboratory for students to study, it would have a ripple effect on their final output in the  West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

Mr Tettey-Enyo said with the replacement of obsolete apparatus at the resource centres with modern ones and also the rehabilitation of  infrastructure, it would urge school authorities to increase the intake of science students this academic year.

Govt to provide more dormitories for all SHSs

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah

In order to provide adequate classrooms and dormitories for students in senior high schools (SHSs), the government, from this month, will start phase one of the project to accommodate fresh students for the 2010/2011 academic year.

 The Minister of Education, Mr Alex Tettey-Enyo, who disclosed this to the Junior Graphic, said the multi-million cedi project is to provide 160 schools which are in dire need of infrastructure with a six-unit classroom block each.

“Apart from this, we shall also provide 120 schools with dormitories. This is to enable the schools to admit the adequate number of students in the boarding house without facing any problem of overcrowding,” he said.

Mr Tettey-Enyo explained further that all the various ongoing projects in the SHSs which had come to a standstill for some time now would also be completed.

According to him, there were some school buildings which only required roofs, windows and doors to be fixed to be  completed.

“The government has also decided to provide all the schools with furniture so that students can study in a more relaxed and conducive environment,” he added.

Mr Tettey-Enyo said by the end of the project each of the 495 SHSs would have been provided with a six-unit classroom block and a dormitory.

Profile:Kojo Oppong Nkrumah — Broadcaster with a gift of the gab

Kojo Oppong Nkrumah — Broadcaster with a gift of the gab

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah

It was a normal day at work, having hosted arguably the highest-rated morning show in Ghana, and Kojo Oppong Nkrumah was changing gear to attend to other important activities.

He had successfully anchored Super Morning Show, Joy FM’s flagship programme and stirred hot national debate on socio-political issues before leaving the studio. And whatever the topic under discussion is — politics, economics, crime, sports — Kojo handles it with passion and little ease.

Despite having no formal training in broadcasting like his contemporaries, Kojo’s reputation as one of the country’s leading broadcasters and quickly fitting into the huge shoes of Komla Dumor (who moved on from Multimedia Broadcasting Limited for a top job at Bush House in London) is ample proof that the 28-year-old man has a gift of the gab.

Kojo hits the airwaves just after the 6.00 a.m. news when others are preparing for work or taking their shower to start the day, but his day actually starts two hours earlier when he prepares to leave home for work — when you and I are snoozing and turning in bed.

He does not have the commanding baritone voice of his predecessor Komla, but Kojo gets discerning listeners to sit up and listen to him. And his dexterity in handling various topics and engaging listeners on social, economic and political issues, his choice of music and sense of humour is beguiling.

Kojo displays a high sense of neutrality and hardly displays his bias during discussions except for issues involving Manchester United where his liking for the English premiership champions is open secret.

The dark and handsome gentleman is always fired up with energy and seems to have bigger ambitions beyond broadcasting. He told The Mirror in an interview at Joy FM’s Kokomlemle office that his greatest motivation in broadcasting is to impact massively to his community to last the next generation.

Famed for his eyes for raw talent who later develop into stars, Multimedia Broadcasting CEO, Mr Kwesi Twum, spotted Kojo while doing a presentation five years ago after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Communication. Impressed with Kojo’s suave performance, Mr Twum knew he had found a suitable replacement for the departing Komla Dumor and immediately requested that Kojo joined the Joy FM family as an intern to which he obliged.

“In fact, I didn’t know the rudiments of broadcasting however, I was taught a lot of things by some of my senior colleagues on daily basis. Consequently, I found broadcasting very exciting and challenging,” he told The Mirror. 

Kojo has since executed various tasks in the newsroom. However, the exit of Kobla Dumor to the BBC gave Kojo the needed opportunity to prove his qualities, and he never disappointed Mr Twum and all those who believed in him.

Rising to the top at Joy FM takes not just talent but a lot of hard work, and Kojo invests a lot into making his programme relevant to society and discerning listeners. 

As one of the “eligible bachelors” around, his day begins quietly and lonely at 4:00 a.m. when he rises from bed. After musing over some of the previous day’s activities, he gets ready and drives to the office by 5:00 a.m. Before sitting behind the console to go on air after the 6:00 a.m. news on weekdays, Kojo and his production team meet to discuss pertinent issues to be thrashed out and the appropriate music to be played on the show. 

“The team must certify that the programme is appealing to the business community, politicians, families and individuals,” he says.

Beyond broadcasting, Kojo provides marketing service advice to corporate bodies and individuals who need his services. Beaming with smiles, he disclosed that his future ambition is to establish his own organisation to provide world-class marketing services for potential clients. He seems prepared for the future having just completed a Master’s programme in marketing at the University of Ghana.

Born on April 5, 1982 to Mr Kwame Oppong Nkrumah, the Head of Treasury of the National Investment Bank, and Mrs Felicia Oppong Nkrumah, a teacher, Kojo hails from Abora Aboase near Saltpond in the Central Region and is the first of three children. 

He started his early education at the Pentecost Preparatory School at Koforidua in the Eastern Region and later moved with his mother to continue his basic education at the St Bernadette’s Soubirous at Dansoman. After sitting for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), he gained admission to the Pope John Secondary in Koforidua and ended at the University of Cape Coast for his first degree.

For Kojo, one person who has impacted appreciably on his life is his dad, whom he and his siblings secretly call “Killer” for his strictness and high sense of discipline at home.

Interestingly, Kojo whose favourite colour is blue, admits he has no culinary skills but enjoys eating jollof rice with beef sauce. When he is not on air or selling out marketing services to people he likes to cool off in his bed.

“I like my sleep a lot because I wake up very early each day to work. But I love to watch movies. Movies which are centred on law, politics and Mafia thrill me. However, watching my favourite team Manchester United play gives me a kick each times,” he laughed. 

Hurray! — 2010 BECE over

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah

The curtain on the 2010 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE 2010) was brought down on Friday, April 23, 2010, throughout the country.

This year’s candidates had to go through less stress to write the examination as the time-table was made flexible, which showed in their composure after each paper each day.

For those who did not register for the Ghanaian Language and French, the examination was over for them when they  completed the Basic Design and Technology Paper Two on Thursday morning.

According to some of them, they had no French teachers and, therefore, did not register for  French. Those who did not write both French and Ghanaian Language registered for only five subjects out of the seven subjects which were written this year.

This means that those with five subjects wrote just one elective subject and may have to compete with those who wrote all the seven subjects for admission to the senior high school (SHS). 

On Friday afternoon, between 12 :15p.m. and 1:30p.m, candidates from some of the public and private schools in Accra were spotted by the Junior Graphic gleefully singing and dancing at the Labone Senior High School centre.

At 12:15pm when the bell of the French Two was rung, some of the candidates from Holy Star Academy were seen pouring talcum powder on their heads, signifying a graceful completion of one educational level. 

At the St Joseph’s JHS centre at Adabraka, some of the candidates who could not believe they were really done with the examination decided to pour water on themselves and were screaming all over in excitement.

Unfortunately, some of their colleagues from the Liberty Avenue and Ghana Lebanon Islamic Secondary (GLISS) JHS could not join the fun as they had to return  to their schools the desks which they carried to the centre for the examination.

At the Aquinas Senior High School centre, students from the Yahousua JHS and SDA JHS were seen in their beautiful year group T-shirts which had their names printed on them.

 In all, 350,888 candidates from 10,016 schools participated in this year’s BECE.

A total number of seven subjects were written by most candidates. They were Mathematics, English Language, Social Studies, Integrated Science, Basic Design and Technology, Ghanaian Language and French.

Apart from the petty problems with question papers, answer sheets and inadequate number of pencils, this year’s examination ended without any official reported leak in any part of the country.

Profile: Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa — Youngest Minister

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah

He is currently the youngest person to be appointed a minister of state in the history of Ghana. At 28, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa is a Deputy Minister of Information in the current National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.

Sam, as he is affectionately called, is one of the outspoken members of the NDC, even though outwardly he seems to be the cool and reserved type.

A look at his curriculum vitae (CV) showed that he had occupied various leadership positions in his schooldays. For instance, he was once the Class Captain at the Association International School, President of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), President of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) Club, Vice-President of the Scripture Union (SU) and Editor-In-Chief of the magazine of the SRC of the University of Ghana. 

When the Junior Graphic caught up with him in his office at the Ministry of Information for a chat, one thing that was obvious was the fact that the young minister is a well organised person. 

On his table were neatly arranged files and various types of books. Among them were the 1992 Constitution, the President’s State of the Nation Address Book and his laptop. His phone kept ringing, maybe to tell how busy the young minister is. 

Spotting a black suit, with his well-trimmed hair, Mr Ablakwa disclosed that his day began as early as 6 a.m. as he  prepared to answer questions from various radio presenters and people who needed clarification on certain government policies.

“Sometimes I leave the office for home after 9 p.m. That is, when I don’t have any event to honour or appear on a television or radio programme,” he said.

Asked how he felt as a young minister, he jokingly said, “I can’t wait to move from the 20s to the 30s so that people will stop seeing me as a young person. All the same, I’m still the Sam people know. In fact, my position has not changed my being at all.”

 According to him, he still hung out with his friends, shared a drink and discussed various social issues with them just as he used to do before he became a minister.

He was quick to add that though he occupied a big position now, for him the road to the top had not been that smooth. 

“I am not a Dada ba at all, as people assume. My mum was a businesswoman who had a food joint on the campus of the Institute of Professional Studies (IPS) and the Dzorwulu Cluster of Schools. My siblings and I had to help serve the food to customers after school and during vacation,” he said. 

Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa described himself as someone from a simple family, saying that there were times when things were so hard for his parents that he defaulted in the payment of school fees and had to be sent home.

Born on August 11, 1980, Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa, who could be described as an Accra “boy”, said he was born and bred at Dansoman, a suburb of Accra. 

He started his early education at the Association International School in Accra from 1987 to 1996. He proceeded to the Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School (PRESEC), Legon from 1997 to 1999 for his secondary education.

Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa, who had fond memories of PRESEC, said he enjoyed his days there. 

“I used to be a day student but I decided to be in the boarding house to enable me have that Presbyterian training that makes one independent and responsible,” he explained.

“I am naturally not an ‘anti-so’ person so I participated in all extra-curricular activities. I never participated in competitive sports but loved to play football and was a member of the debating club, the NCCE and SU,” he added.

In 1999, he was adjudged  the Best Debater in the Greater Accra Region. Between 2002 and 2006, he was at the University of Ghana where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree. 

Despite his tight schedule, Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa is pursuing a Law programme with the University of London.

Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa, who has travelled extensively, said he loves politics because he is the type who always wants to fight for the rights of people.

Make BECE incident-free

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah

The Minister of Education, Mr Alex Tettey-Enyo, has urged candidates writing the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) to make this year’s examination incident-free, since they have just a few subjects to write.

“You all had enough time to prepare for this annual examination and, therefore, there is no point carrying foreign materials into the examination halls, copying from friends or teaching others, which are all grievous offences,” he told the candidates.

The minister was addressing BECE candidates in the Ga East and the Adentan municipality on Monday when the BECE commenced throughout the country. 

This year, BECE candidates are writing papers in English Language, Social Studies, Integrated Science, Mathematics, Basic Design and Technology, Ghanaian Language and French. Meanwhile, French and Ghanaian Language have been made optional.

He also requested that pregnant candidates and those who owed school fees should not be sent out of the examination halls, since they all had the  right to sit for the examination so far  as they were duly registered.

Mr Tettey-Enyo visited the Achimota School Centre, which has 1,158 candidates at three centres; the PRESEC Staff School Centre, which has 919 candidates, and the West Africa Senior High School (WASS) Centre, which has 385 candidates.

By 9:45 a.m. on Monday, candidates at the PRSEC Staff School had already had their first feel of how external examinations are conducted  with the writing of the English Language Paper One.

Some of the anxious candidates got to their various centres as early as 5:30 a.m. to revise their notes for the last time.

At almost all the centres visited, there were absentees and some visibly pregnant girls.

At the Adentan Community School Centre where  617 candidates were supposed to write the exams, two of them were absent.

The Adentan Municipal Chief Executive, Mrs Nubyl Kakra Van Lare, who visited the centre, encouraged the candidates to relax and put in their best, reports Severious Kale Dery.

She cautioned them against examination malpractice, assuring them that the examination was within their capability.

The Adentan Municipal Director of Education, Mrs Rosemund Ajoa Keteku, explained that one of the invigilators had mistakenly taken 40 extra questions, a development which created initial panic but the abnormally was rectified.

One of the supervisors of the centre, Mrs Bernice Ofori, said the examination had taken off smoothly, “the only hitch being the artificial shortage which has been corrected. One other problem is that one of the candidates fell sick and vomited but she insists that she can continue with the exams”.

In all, 350,888 candidates from 10,016 schools are writing the week-long examination at 1,278 centres throughout the country.

2010 BECE — Five subjects for placement

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah

The number of subjects that will be used for the selection and placement of candidates into senior high schools (SHSs) this year has been reduced from six to five by the Computerised School Selection and Placement (CSSPS) Secretariat.

The five subjects that will be used for the 2010 placement  are the four core subjects — Mathematics, English Language, Social Studies and Science — while the fifth subject will be any one elective subject of candidates.

Explaining the reason for the change, Mr Stephen Adu, the Director of Basic Education at the Ghana Education Service, said last year the examinable subjects were 10 and as a result, the CSSPS used six subjects for the placement exercise.

“This year, candidates are writing just six subjects and that informed the decision to reduce the subjects used for the school placement,” he explained.

According to him, the number of examinable subjects were reduced to six in accordance with the recommendations of the 2007 educational reform which indicated that the number of subjects candidates wrote in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) were too many.

Mr Adu disclosed that next year candidates would be examined in Religious and Moral Education and Information and Communications Technology (ICT). 

He, however, explained that ICT would be made optional, since most of the basic schools did not have computers.

Mr Adu wished all BECE candidates well in their examination, saying he was optimistic that they would come out with flying colours.

More classrooms for Senior High Schools

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah

In a bid to accommodate fresh and continuing students next academic year, the government is working around the clock to provide infrastructure for students in senior high schools (SHS) by September this year.

This was disclosed to the Junior Graphic by the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Education (MOE), Mr Paul Krampa, during an interview on the duration of the SHS.

According to him, the Ministry has received numerous complaints that due to inadequate facilities  in some SHS, some school heads have resolved not to admit new students.

“This is unfortunate as it is the responsibility of  heads of schools to admit candidates who gain admission to their schools”.

Mr Krampa who made reference to the President’s State of the Nation address recently said the admission to SHS for the 2009/2010 academic year, increased by 25 per cent over last year’s figure. 

Withthe increase in enrolment, he explained that  it had become necessary for government  to provide additionalal facilities in all the senior high schools to ensure that the schools are able to admit the increasing number ofsenior high school students. 

Asked whether the duration of the SHS is three or four years, he said the government had decided that as from the beginning of next academic year as the four-year period will put pressure on the already scanty resources in some schools. 

No more classes under trees

No more classes under trees — Beginning 2011


Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah

The numerous pupils and students studying under trees across the country will be provided with permanent accommodation by the end of 2010.

A Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, in a discussion with the Junior Graphic, said in order to make school-going more attractive to children, the government would provide a school building for every single school currently operating under a tree.

He said in addition, it would expand facilities in existing shift system schools to completely do away with that system.

The deputy minister disclosed that currently provision had been made to construct and furnish 165 school buildings to accommodate the affected schools, while 250 new schools and kindergartens would be constructed and furnished by 2010.

According to him, as many as 45,000 pupils sitting under trees would benefit from the school accommodation when completed.

He explained that the provision of accommodation had become necessary, since more pupils were enrolling in schools as a result of the capitation grant and the school feeding programme. 

“Therefore, it is government’s responsibility to ensure that children study comfortably and not under the hot sun and at the mercy of the rains,” he added.