The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for the Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA), Hon. Janet Tulasi Mensah has advised pupils preparing for the 2020 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) to shun unnecessary attention given to social media and telenovelas and focus on their studies to ensure successful passage to the next level.
She was speaking to the pupils during an inspection and monitoring of some Public Basic Schools as part of the activities by the Municipal Education Directorate to ensure the safety of the pupils as they prepare to write their final exams.
Hon. Janet Tulasi Mensah, accompanied by the Municipal Director of Education (MDE), Mrs. Faustina Alimatu Braimah, visited the Kwabenya M/A Cluster, Taifa Community Cluster and the Abokobi Presby Basic Schools.
Since the resumption of schools as announced by the President of the Republic, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as part of the gradual easing of the COVID-19 restrictions, the Education Directorate, together with the Municipal Assembly, has been conducting periodic monitoring of the schools to ensure the children and teachers are adhering to the preventive measures and protect them against contracting the virus.
The Municipal Chief Executive and her team inspected the various safety items in the schools, checked compliance on the wearing of Face Masks and Social Distancing, and interacted with both the pupils and teachers.
In her message, the Hon. MCE informed the pupils about the strenuous efforts the President and the government were making to provide them with free and quality education from basic to the secondary level.
Using her life as an example, Hon. Janet Tulasi Mensah observed that the current generation, unlike their time where some of them had to struggle to reach such status in life, have been lucky to enjoy a lot of freebies in the education sector under previous and current New Patriotic Party (NPP) administrations citing the Ghana School Feeding Programme, Capitation Grant, Free School Uniforms, and Free SHS Educational Policy, among others, as examples.
She urged the pupils to learn hard and pass their exam in order to benefit from the Free SHS Educational Policy introduced by President Akufo-Addo.
"In my time, we didn't have this opportunity. I remember people were going to Tech (KNUST) and I said no, I want to go there just to motivate myself. I went there, and just stood and wept bitterly. I asked myself how can I get here? All because my siblings were many, about eight (8) of us, who is going and who is staying because our parents had to pay school fees. We didn't have free meals and free school uniforms then", she revealed.
"Now you're privileged to have it free. For Christ's sake, sit yourself down and learn. At the end of the day, if you pass you'll feel good but if you fail, it will weigh you down. I'll plead with you all to learn what your teachers are teaching you and I'll also encourage you that after class, meet for about 30 minutes and do group discussions so that if you don't understand something, others can help you".
The Municipal Chief Executive, touching on the recent deviant behaviours of some West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) candidates which have dominated both mainstream media and social media spaces, condemned the incidences but observed that it has also been an eye-opener for parents and other stakeholders to do more in the upbringing of their children.
"Recently you saw some of your senior colleagues, the misbehaviour they showed to the whole world. If God doesn't come in, it will affect the rest of their lives. We are fortunate, Ga East, we did not record such. We're preparing you towards your exams. If you're using phones, give them back to your parents, you have more life ahead of you than now. Sometimes you need tough love, some us, including me, we're not from a rich home.
"Let us look at where we're coming from. In one of the videos, I heard a lady saying 'destroy the things' and she has been picked. Those who did the actual act, where are they? Let us be responsible, put away anything that is distracting you and learn. It's not about the 'ditto ditto' you're being taught but near it. Now SHS is free and you can choose any school you like and if you learn hard, you will get it", she stated.
The Municipal Chief Executive said Government has provided the schools with the right protective equipment and urged the pupils, in particular, to strictly adhere to the safety protocols and ensure they are protected against the Coronavirus.
The Municipal Director of Education (MDE), Mrs. Faustina Alimatu Braimah, who also shared her personal experiences as a child with the pupils, reiterated the Hon MCE's plea to them to take their studies seriously and not engage in any activity that will distract them from focusing on the task ahead.
"You need to stay focused, learn hard, your teachers are here, you've been provided with the necessary items that will keep you safe, so continue to observe the safety protocols so that we can manage the situation for you to write your final examination.
Speaking on the recent happenings in the WASSCE in some parts of the country, the MDE expressed utter disgust at the behaviours exhibited by some of the candidates and seized the opportunity to advise the BECE candidates to focus on their books and not rely on anything aside what they are being taught.
"You're well trained and well nurtured so you're not going to go that way. You're concentrating on your books and listening to the advices given by your teachers, that's the way to go. All that you have been seeing is wrong and uncalled for. People who have been trained do not behave that way because we prepare you well enough to be able to write the exam. There's no shortcut anywhere, that won't help you. It is when you don't study", she remarked.
The pupils conveyed their warmest appreciation through the Hon MCE to the President and MP, Hon. Adwoa Safo for thinking of their lives, present and future, and providing them with needed safety items to prevent them from contracting the Coronavirus Disease and facilitating their preparation for their final exams.
The school authorities similarly expressed their gratitude to the Government for the support so far and the Hon MCE for taking time off her busy schedule to visit and inspire them to deliver more for the kids.
The Assembly and Education Directorate Public Relations Officers, Okunyin Boaz Orlan-Hackman and Seth Anyormi, were among the officials.
The 2020 BECE examinations will commence on Monday, 14th September and end on Friday, 18th September with Four Thousand, Five Hundred (4,500) candidates expected to sit in the Ga East Municipality.