The 2008 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) ended last Friday with a lot of drama throughout the country.
Apart from the late delivery of materials by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), at most centres visited by the Junior Graphic, some candidates were prevented from writing the exam by their school heads, because they stopped attending classes after registering for the BECE last year.
No amount of pleading could soften some heads of schools who resolved not to allow the affected candidates to join their colleagues to write the exam.
They were of the view that the students' poor performance could tarnish the over all results.
Some female candidates could also not join their friends to write their papers, as they were visibly pregnant and could not stand the stigma associated with teenage pregnancy.
At one centre in the Central Region, a pregnant girl who decided to join her colleagues to write, went into labour the first day and was rushed home to be delivered of her baby.
She returned the next day, to the examination centre to continue with the rest of the papers.
Another drama occurred in the Brong Ahafo Region where a male candidate messed himself up when he was allegedly refused permission by an invigilator to visit the washroom.
Despite all these events, between 3:35 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. the curtain was brought down on this year's BECE, after the final two papers, Ghanaian Language and French were written.
When the Junior Graphic got to the St Theresa's School compound on Friday at 3:35 p.m, the bell chimed loudly to signify the end of the French paper.
And as if by design, all the candidates ran out of the classrooms to embrace one another. Some sprinkled water on their friends, while others also poured powder on their heads and others simply danced.
At the Accra Academy centre, the candidates finished their last paper after 4.00 pm, about 15 clear minutes after the official closing time of 4.00 pm.
An invigilator, who demanded anonymity, explained that the late start of examination at some centres, could be attributed to the delivery of papers on the same day a particular subject was to be written.
In previous years, the invigilator said, examination papers were sent to the centres the day before. However, in order to check the upsurge in examination malpractice, WAEC has adopted a new method of delivery which resulted in the delay.
Each candidate wrote 10 subjects, which are English Language, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Pre-Technical Skills, Pre-Vocational Skills, Religious and Moral Education, French, Agric Science and a Ghanaian Language.
A total of 337,110 candidates, made up of 184,919 males and 152,191 female students wrote the examination in 9,212 schools and at 1,183 centres throughout the country.
A total of 1,183 supervisors took charge of the exam.
The breakdown of candidates are as follows: Greater Accra Region — 61,313; Eastern Region — 37,689; Central Region — 35,965; Western Region — 33,967 and Ashanti Region — 69,818.
The rest are: Brong Ahafo — 30,590; Volta Region — 26,472; Northern Region — 21,443; Upper East Region — 12,257, and Upper West Region — 7,596.
Story by Hadiza Billa Quansah