The Batch Registration of Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) candidates, which is to be fully implemented in the 2007/08 academic year, is going to pose a serious problem for most public schools that do not have access to computers.
Most public schools across the country do not have computers but even in the few schools that have them, they have become decorative devices sitting in the headteachers' offices.
With the Batch Registration, heads of junior secondary schools (JSS) are expected to register their candidates for the (BECE) in batches on CDs and not on forms as has been the practice.
This means that both public and private schools throughout the country must have access to computers to enable them to register on CDs.
Last year, the Batch Registration was introduced at the senior secondary school (SSS) level but some difficulties were encountered even though most senior secondary schools had computers.
The Junior Graphic visited some basic schools in the Eastern Region to find out if the schools had computers or would have access to computers to register students. Interestingly, most of the public schools the team visited did not have a single computer.
Besides, some of the headteachers were not aware of the new sys¬tem. Those who knew about the new Batch Registration were quick to add that it would be a difficult task, especially when some of them were not computer literate.
At the Effiduase Methodist JSS, the Headmistress, Ms Gladys Darko said she knew about the new system but did not have any knowledge about what it really entailed.
"I am currently waiting for the Ghana Education Service (GES) to organise a training programme or workshop on the Batch Registration to enable me to register my students," she added.
In an interview, assistant headmasters of some senior secondary schools in Koforidua who did the registration last year, admitted that the exercise was not an easy task.
They said basic schools would require digital cameras to take the pictures of candidates and download them unto CDs.
At the Pope John Secondary School, for instance, the assistant headmaster (Academic), Mr Mathias Kudiabor, said due to the delays in payment of registration fees by students it was difficult to do the registration on time.
Mr Kudiabor added that with the Batch Registration there was the need to get all students data ready for the processing of index numbers. Therefore, when others do not pay their fees on time everything comes to a standstill.
Reacting to the question of non availability of computers in schools, the Head of National Examination Administration Department (NEAD) of the West African Examination Council (WAEC), Mr Kweku Nyamekye Aidoo, acknowledged the difficulties that would confront most schools under the programme but said they were manageable.
Mr Nyamekye Aidoo, explained that the GES may have to instruct some of the SSS heads to allow heads of JSS to use computers in their schools to facilitate the regis¬tration of BECE candidates.
"It is a fact that most public schools and even some of the pri¬vate schools do not have computers which is an essential tool for the registration. If this Batch Registration is done, then each school will use just about one CD and so in all we will use just about 9,000 CDs for the whole country and this will reduce paperwork," he said.
Credit: Junior Graphic