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.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Blackouts/Teachers strike- taking toll on final year students

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah
 Pupils and students across the country are having serious challenges . While the rampant blackouts in most parts of the country are taking a toll on academic work, teachers have also worsened matters by embarking on a strike.
 As a result of the frequent power cuts, students, especially those who are preparing to write the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) are having challenges studying at night.
Currently, members of the two main teacher organisations - Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) - are  also staying away from the classrooms in protest against what they say is discrimination by the government in the payment of their entitlements.
The teachers are calling for the payment of their maintenance allowance, which they say had not been paid  for over 15 months.
Visits by the Junior Graphic to some senior high schools in Accra: Labone SHS, St Thomas Aquinas, PRESEC Osu and Accra High School, revealed that most of the teachers did not report to school at all, while the few that reported at some of the SHSs did not teach. Some sat in groups unders trees while others relaxed in their cars chatting heartily.
When the Junior Graphic visited the Nima Cluster of Schools, Independence Avenue, Kanda Cluster of Schools, among others, most of the students  were not aware  of the strike so they had turned out in their numbers. While others quickly returned home in excitement, after they were told about the strike, others stayed to play  with their friends.
Schools that were scheduled to write  their end of term examination had to postpone it to a later date.
 Final-year students  who are preparing for the WASSCE seem to be very disturbed over the strike action as some of them are currently undertaking their final practical in Visual Arts, Home Economics, Food and Nutrition, Clothing and Textiles, Music, Arabic, French and English Orals.
The Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Education, Stephen Adu, in an interview said it was very unfortunate that teachers were on strike at the 11th hour when their students needed them most. He, however, explained that his outfit was  fast-tracking the necessary administrative work to ensure that outstanding issues were quickly addressed so that the strike was not prolonged.

Check your data online WAEC tells candidates

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah
The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has directed all candidates writing the May/June 2013 West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and the June 2013 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) to go online to check their correct data.
The online verification of statement of entries is to ensure that particulars of candidates submitted to the council are correct.
It will also help the council correct and facilitate the processing of results.
The Head of Public Relations at WAEC, Mrs Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, explained to the Junior Graphic that for some time now the council had been receiving entries of some candidates with errors which sometimes delayed the  processing of results.
Mrs Teye-Cudjoe said some entries were sent with different names of candidates, photographs interchanged with those of others, wrong dates of birth and subjects, among others.
"When such errors occur, the candidates only detect them when they are handed their final results. This means many changes must be done," she said.
She said candidates should log onto the WAEC website: www.waecgh.org and if they detect any error in, for instance, their names, dates of birth, photographs or any other data, they should contact their heads of schools who would go ahead to request the correction of the errors.
"Requests from heads of schools for correction should reach the council not later than April 15," she added.

WASSCE kick starts

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah                
This year's West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) began in earnest yesterday, with all the candidates across the country writing their first core paper — English Language Orals.
In all, 409,832 candidates, the highest number of candidates so far in the history of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), from 742 public and private schools are writing the examination.
In Ghana, 58 papers, made up of four core and 54 elective, will be written until May 17 which officially ends the entire WASSCE.
Today, April 10, another core paper, Integrated Science, will be written.
In an interview, the Head of Test Administration at WAEC, Mr Felix Akuffo-Badoo, disclosed that due to the frequent power cuts, the heads of schools had been advised to get standby generators to provide power during the oral papers.
He said in order to prevent delays in the delivery of examination papers, the council had opened various depots close to most of the schools to shorten the time for picking of papers.
"As you know, there is so much traffic in most of the metropolises and municipalities, hence this new initiative," he said.
He said WAEC had officially written to the Inspector-General  of Police (IGP)  to provide the council with adequate policemen across the country to ensure maximum security at all the examination centres.
Mr Akuffo-Badoo warned candidates against examination malpractice such as carrying foreign materials such as mobile phones, programmed calculators or other electronic communication devices into the examination halls.
"Offences such as mass cheating, leaked questions (apor), taking question papers or answer booklets out, tearing any part of the paper/answer booklet, insulting or assaulting an invigilator/supervisor inside or outside the examination hall will lead to the cancellation of a candidate's or an entire school's results, while the culprits could be barred from writing WAEC examinations or even imprisoned," he added.

WASSCE ongoing amdist drama

The 2013 May/June West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) is ongoing, amidst drama.
While majority of the candidates who wrote the Oral English last Tuesday had no problem with the recording, a few claimed the sound was not audible enough.
In almost all the senior high schools (SHSs) visited, the candidates were divided into batches to enable them to write the Oral English. For instance, at the Labone SHS, where 1,241 candidates wrote the paper, they were divided into five groups, while Accra High School, which had 900 candidates, had five groups.
 St Thomas Aquinas SHS, with 862 candidates, had four groups of 230 candidates each.
The Integrated Science paper, which was written on Wednesday, April 10, saw candidates occupying the examination halls and classrooms in the various centres due to the large number of candidates writing the paper.
Some heads of SHSs also used the examination as an opportunity to demand school fees from students who owed.
However, that action by some of the heads compelled the Chief Director of the Ministry of Education, Mr Enoch Hemans Cobbinah, to warn the heads not to prevent any candidate from writing the WASSCE because he or she owed school fees.
The director, in an interview, said, "Any attempt to prevent any candidate from writing the examination on account of the fact that he or she owes the school will constitute an infringement of the law."
About 195 students of the Kollege SHS at Darkuman, Accra also descended on their school last Wednesday just before the start of the Oral English paper, accusing the authorities of the school of failing to register them for the WASSCE.
The irate students set the director’s car ablaze and also destroyed several school property, including computers.
The Director of the school, Mr Ato Abraham, had to be arrested by policemen from the Odorkor Police Station who were on the school compound to restore order.
This year's WASSCE began on Tuesday, April 9 with 409,753 candidates from 724 public and private SHSs across the country.
In all, 220,866 males and 188,881 females are writing the examination, which is being written simultaneously in four other English-speaking West African countries —  Nigeria, Liberia, The Gambia and Sierra Leone.
This year’s examination has the highest number of candidates from the two batches of final-year SHS students, with the last batch of four-year SHS students under the 2007 educational reform policy writing the examination with the first batch of three-year SHS students following the reversal of the duration of SHS education from four to three years in 2010.

Candidates region by region
The Ashanti Region is presenting the highest number of candidates, 102,906, made up of 54,561 males and 48,345 females, followed by the Eastern Region, which is presenting 64,201 candidates, comprising 31,975 males and 32,226 females.
Greater Accra has 44,731 candidates, made up of 23,596 males and 21,135 females, while Central has 43,655 candidates, comprising 23,047 males and 20,608 females.
Volta is presenting 35,856 candidates, of which 19,994 are males and 15,862 females.
The rest are: Brong Ahafo, 35,692 candidates (19,503 males and 16,189 females); Northern, 31,645 (19,872 males and 11,773 females); Western, 29,692 (15,848 males and 13,844 females); Upper East, 12,691 (7,287 males and 5,404 females) and Upper West, 8,678 (5,183 males and 3,495 females).

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kwame Yeboah — Master keyboardist

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah
He is young, energetic and forward looking and it is no wonder that he has worked with several big names in the music industry in Ghana and abroad.
His prowess on the keyboard and guitar and his skills as a producer and recording engineer make Kwame Yeboah a hot commodity in the world of contemporary music.
He has provided services for big names in the industry such as Kojo Antwi, Miss Dynamite, Craig David, Stevie Wonder, Alexander O’Neal, Amy Winehouse, Jimmy Cliff and good old Osibisa.
This makes him shuttle regularly between London and Accra and, at 34, the only job he has ever done is to play music, something he emphatically says he will not trade for any other.
“I have no regrets at all for being a musician all my life,” Kwame said. “I have tapped knowledge from a lot of people and sources and I’m happy now that I spend a lot of time here these days to manage, guide and share what I know with some of the young, brilliant and up-and-coming Ghanaian musicians.”
His father is a veteran highlife musician, K.K. Yeboah, and Kwame attributes his achievements to the fact that he was surrounded by music throughout his childhood and was allowed to drift where his instincts led him.
Apart from his father’s early influence, he also learnt from his maternal uncle, the late Paa Gyimah, who was a proficient guitarist for Jewel Ackah, Senior Eddie Donkor and several other local bands.
“Though there were instruments all around me as I grew up, my father was initially not too keen on me taking up music. He felt I should pay more attention to school but I was playing drums by the time I was five and the guitar by seven,” he recalled.
Since his father was not excited about his venturing into the music industry, Kwame hung out a lot more in Snr Eddie Donkor’s house, which was close to theirs at Abeka in Accra. He also followed his uncle Gyimah around quite a bit.
“The guitar was my main instrument in the beginning but I moved on to keyboards. I realised that whenever a band was playing and the keyboards came in, the sound became bigger. I wanted to be able to be the one responsible for that big sound,” he said.
Many know Kwame in Ghana as Kojo Antwi’s keyboard player and music director. The two first came together through keyboardist Kwabena Akwaboa in 1996 for a Miss Ghana gig.
“I was hired to play that gig alone but Kojo invited me to a session in the studio after that. He was extremely impressed with what I produced in the studio and we have been together since then,” he recalled.
Kwame started his primary education at the Cosmos Preparatory School and continued to the Wassa Amenfi Secondary School in the Western Region and finally completed at the Pank Secondary in Accra.
As a result of his love for music, he took some music lessons in Denmark to be able to write and interpret music with world jazz piano players such as Michel Camilo and Danilo Perez.
Kwame hails from Wassa Akropong in the Western Region and his main focus now is running his two Mixstation studios in Accra and London and performing with his Ohia Beye Ya Band.
He was music director for this year’s Vodafone Ghana Icons music reality show.

Stop charging unapproved fees — GES warns

The Ministry of Education (MoE) has warned heads of senior high schools to refrain from charging the unapproved feeding fee of GH¢2.80 currently being imposed on students.
The Head of Public Relations of the MoE, Mr Paul  Krampah, told the Junior Graphic that it had come to the notice of the ministry that the approved feeding fee of  GH¢1.80 had been increased without  approval from the ministry.
“We have written to the heads not to collect such amount of money  from parents but it looks like some heads are flouting the order. For this reason, a committee has been set up by the ministry to go into the current problem  between the MoE and the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) over the feeding fees for  boarding students,” he said.
Mr Krampah said the headmasters claimed reverting to the old fees would have a serious effect on the quality of food they served to the students.
“This is simply not acceptable, as the heads are going contrary to the agreement they signed in connection with the feeding fee last year,” he said.
He explained that just last year, the feeding fee was reviewed from GH¢1.40 to the current GH¢1.80 to enable heads of schools to fulfill their desire to improve both the quality and quantity of food served to students.
 “It is, therefore, surprising that the agreement, which was for  two years and, therefore, would end next academic year, is being changed by the heads,” he noted.
 Mr Krampah, therefore, asked  parents who had already paid the GH¢2.50 to ensure that the balance was credited to their children next academic year.
In separate interviews with some headmasters and headmistresses who wanted to remain anonymous, they  explained that  the current amount being charged was woefully inadequate.
“As you know, we are dealing with teenagers who are very active and, therefore,  eat a lot and this same GH¢1.80 is for breakfast, lunch and supper,” they lamented.

Manasseh Awuni Azuri - Journalist of the Year

He is currently the youngest  media practitioner to have ever won the coveted Journalist of  the Year award.
After barely three years as a practitioner of both print and electronic journalism, Manasseh Awuni Azuri has eight top national awards to his credit.
Last year, he won three awards during the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) awards and went home with four awards this year, including the topmost award.
A few weeks ago, he was again presented with the National Youth Achievers Award for Media Excellence by President John Mahama at a grand ceremony.
The name Manasseh, which means "God has made me forget the suffering in my father's house",  was chosen by him, as it truly reflects the bitter experiences he had to go through while growing up.
According to him, his father, Mr Awuni Adaboro, who is a watchman at the Krachie Government Hospital, started life as a farm labourer who went round weeding people's farms to make ends meet.
He said because of the work his father did, he (Manasseh) was always mocked at by his mates in school. That made him vow to study very hard to become a well recognised professional to be able to take better care of his parents in future.
"Life was so difficult at that time that sometimes we woke up not knowing when our next meal would come. That continued for quite a while, leading to my siblings and I developing kwashiorkor at a point. Though we struggled with meals at home, my father ensured that he never defaulted in paying my school fees," he disclosed with pride.
Manasseh, who recently landed a job as a reporter with Joy FM, an Accra-based radio station, told the Junior Graphic in a chat that he attributed all the successes he had chalked up in a short time to God and his father, who spent the little he had on his (Manasseh’s) education.
Born at Bongo in the Upper East Region in 1985, his parents relocated  to Krachie in the Volta Region when he was six. He started his primary education at the Krachie Local Authority School, and then proceeded to the Henkel Memorial JHS from 1999 to 2001.
Throughout his education, Manasseh  exhibited leadership skills — he was the Assistant School Prefect in primary school, and at the Krachie Senior High School he was elected School Prefect, later becoming the Students Representative Council (SRC) President  at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication.
Asked how he had come into journalism, he explained that after secondary school, he wanted to continue immediately to a tertiary school but could not because of financial problems.
Consequently, he worked as a caretaker at the Ghana Education Service (GES) Guest House at Kete-Krachie to be able to save some money to fund his tertiary education. While at the Guest House, "I used to write short stories and posted them  on the notice board for our guests to read".
That, he said, caught the attention of the GES Public Relations Officer at Krachie, Fredoline Empeh, who encouraged him to apply to the GIJ to pursue a degree in journalism.
"Initially, I wanted to study business because I felt that would make me rich one day. At that time the only rich person I knew at Krachie who I believed had everything was the bank manager and so I wanted to be like him," he said laughing heartily.
Unfortunately, his dream of becoming a bank manager in future switched when he started writing award-winning plays for his school drama club.
Manasseh, who loves writing on things which are of human interest and issues affecting the less privileged in society, aspires to be a novelist in future. He is currently pursuing a Masters degree at the School of Communication Studies of the University of Ghana, Legon.
Born as a twin, he has 10 siblings and enjoys reading, listening to gospel music and ‘borborbor’. He is also a Presbyterian and Junior Youth teacher.
 Interestingly, he speaks Twi, Fante, Frafra, Ewe and Krachie.
For Manasseh, banku and tuo zaafi (TZ) with okro soup are his favourite dishes.
He advised children "never to be intimidated when your friends laugh at you due to your poor background. The best is to strive to excel each day".

Kwabena is world champion

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah
Eleven-year-old Kwabena Asamoah made Ghana proud after beating 3000 other competitors to be crowned the World Champion, Intermediate A Category,  of the  2012 Universal Concept Mental Arithmetic System (UCMAS), an international competition held in Malaysia last month.
The international competition is an annual event organised by UCMAS Education Group. This year, it brought together children from the ages of five to 14  from all over the world to compete at different levels.
Last Tuesday, the Junior Graphic caught up  with Kwabena at the UCMAS Ghana office at Achimota in Accra to share in his success story.
 Kwabena, a Class Six  pupil of the Crown Prince Academy,  competed  with children from 54 other countries and answered 200 arithmetic sums within eight minutes.
Smart and eloquent Kwabena, who represented Ghana in the competition, started the UCMAS Abacus classes two years ago at the Dansoman Learning Centre.
"I started preparing myself for  the international competition by representing the Dansoman Centre in the UCMAS Mental Arithmetic Quiz show on GTV," he said. There, he showed an outstanding performance  to emerge the national champion after answering 200 questions within eight minutes.
For his prize, he was presented with trophies, certificates, medals and a full scholarship to complete the remaining levels of the UCMAS Abacus classes.
The Director of UCMAS Ghana Limited, Mr Girish Gurbani, said the essence of introducing Abacus to young children was to help eradicate the fear of Mathematics among children and boost their confidence.
"Basically, UCMAS Abacus enhances the listening skills of children and bolsters their creativity and imagination. With the great performance of our students in their respective schools we have no doubt they are on the pedestal of achieving enviable academic laurels," he added.

New BECE date — Candidates approve

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah

A NUMBER of final-year students  have welcomed  the change in the date of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) that has been moved from April to June  and have described it as a blessing.
This year, the BECE would be written by candidates from June 17 and completed on June 24 instead of April as  has been the case over the years.
They said writing the examination in June would give them more time to prepare properly.
There is, however, another group of JHS students who are not excited about the change. Their reason is that they are in a hurry to write the exam and  rest rather than spend time learning while the days drag on.These opinions were expressed when the Junior Graphic went round some schools in Accra, to find out whether candidates were aware that the timetable had been changed by the Ghana Education Service.
During interviews with JHS students of the Police Depot ‘1’ JHS, La Yahoushua JHS, Private Odartey JHS, Calvary Methodist JHS, Grey Memorial JHS among others, the students said the change in date means extra work for them as their teachers and parents would expect nothing but better grades because they had ample time to study.
The Headmistress of the La Yahoushua JHS, Mrs Theodora Agyeman,  in an interview, described the change in the time for the BECE as very good since it would enable teachers  to complete the syllabus and conduct some mock examinations before the students began the examination in June.
Mrs Agyeman explained that usually those of them in the public schools have a lot to do when schools reopen in January. “For instance, we have to prepare the students for sporting activities and the national parade on March 6 for the Independence anniversary celebrations each year and all these affect time for schoolwork”.
Regina Dzifa Gadzo, a JHS three student of the Bask Academy, said the headmaster of her school had informed them about the new date just before they went on the Christmas break and cautioned them not to laze about in the belief that they had a long period to study before the examination.
Meanwhile, some students of the Madina  No. '1' Cluster of Schools with whom the Junior Graphic met said they were not aware that the examination time had been changed from April to June.
A parent, Nana Konadu, was not satisfied with the change of the examination time as she had planned to travel outside on holidays with her twins who are both writing the BECE. “ I had planned to travel with them during my leave in May but as it is now I cannot because of the change”, she said.
According to the Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, Mr Stephen Adu, the change had become necessary to enable candidates to have ample time to prepare for the examination.