The Executive Director of Children's Rights International (CRI), Bright Kweku Appiah has observed that making quality education available to BECE candidates would be a better option than making them re-sit their examinations.
He described year 2007 as a “turning point in the history of education in Ghana”, and “we must take a critical look at certain issues concerning education in Ghana, especially those affecting the intellectual development of the Ghanaian child.”
Mr Appiah who stated these in a press conference in Accra observed that despite numerous educational reforms since 1951, Ghana's educational system was still failing majority of students.
This failure is shown in the recent years' score of 0% by some schools in the BECE.
Those from such schools were primarily public school students from poor communities. They are forced by the low quality of education they receive to engage in 'galamsey' operations in the mining areas, child labour and child prostitution.
“Many as a result have defined their destiny outside requisite knowledge and proper skills.”
Mr Appiah stated that the 0% score cannot be blamed on students' academic performance alone and gave examples of other contributory factors such as poor infrastructure, inconsistency in the schools' curricula, delay in the distribution of text books, long distances to examination centres and most importantly lack of trained teachers.
He said these other factors meant that there was a need for such children to have the opportunity to re-sit their exams at the basic level to enable them further their education and become more responsible for the nation in the near future.
However, he said, as long as public school students still suffer from poor conditions in schools, the lack of textbooks and sub-standard teaching, no matter how many times they are allowed to re-sit the examination, these factors would still be at play and the students cannot achieve anything significant.
This seems to be the wrong time to concentrate on re-sits, he said, as Ghana has just three years to fulfill the aim of putting every child in the country into primary school before 2010 (a target that has only been achieved by four out of the 124 countries who signed up to the agreement).
It would surely be more beneficial to concentrate on improving the standard of education being received by the public school children so that they can pass the BECE at the first attempt.
This would mean spending the government's money on actual education, which includes teaching, attendance, textbooks and school buildings for the children, as opposed to wasting it on free re-sits which might not be useful.
“It is not the opportunity to re-sit alone that will improve the intellectual development of the public school children, but tackling the other issues that are adversely affecting their chances to live up to their potential in the first place.”
By Jessica Jennings