The 2017 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) started on Monday, June 5 and shall continue till Friday, June 9.
Figures reveal that 468,053 candidates, including 241,148 males, 226,905 females and 57 visually impaired candidates from 15,185 junior high schools, are expected to write the examination in 1,702 centres nationwide. Some 199,059 pupils will write the French Language as 453,654 of them take the test on Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
The Ghana Education Service (GES) does not exclude itself from the task of supporting pupils and students to acquire good-quality education, including having to institute structures and procedures for accessing free, fair and transparent environment during any pre-tertiary examination.
GES does not only see itself as an agency for managing pre-tertiary education system but also as an active stakeholder and a participant in the measurement and evaluation of all educational outcomes of pupils and students. And it is against this background that teachers, school heads, officers and directors of education across the board are usually seen moving helter-skelter into some centres whenever external examinations, such as the BECE, are being conducted.
As some GES staff, including teachers and heads of schools, invigilate and supervise examination papers, schedule officers and directors at the various education directorates and management take part in the monitoring of activities at selected examination centres.
The national office of the GES has a unit for coordinating examinations, including BECE, with its head being Mr. Richard Ayitey, and whose activities fall within the control of the Basic Education Division with Mrs. Cynthia Bosumtwi-Sam as its director.
Aside of the examination-monitoring schedules, which the district and regional directorates usually formulate and follow at their levels, the management of the GES does a schedule to have officers and directors sent to some centres in the districts to strengthen the monitoring exercise and to make it more effective. The monitoring schedule also involves the director general and his two deputies, the divisional directors and some of the unit heads.
A memo, which was issued by the Basic Education Director Cynthia Bosuntwi-Sam on 22nd May, 2017 to all concerned officers and directors in the monitoring of the ongoing BECE, said, “You are kindly invited to participate in the monitoring of the examination as per attached the suggested monitoring schedule for the first day of the examination.”
“The Basic Education Division will deploy a number of officers to monitor the conduct of the entire examination at some selected centres across the country that are prone to examination malpractices”, Mrs. Bosumtwi-Sam added.
As per the schedule, the writer happened to belong to the Team led by the Director of Human Resource and Management Division Judith Esther Offeibea Donkor and which had two other directors, including Mrs. Felicia Boakye-Yiadom of the Curriculum Research and Development Division and Madam Beatrice Zalia Ali of the Supplies and Logistics Division of GES.
On the first day of the examination, the Team visited some ten centres at Nungua and Tema, including Nungua Senior High School (SHS) centres A, B and C, Nungua M/A Cluster of Schools centres 1 and 2, Sakumono Corpus Christi School Complex centres 1 and 2, and Tema SHS centres A, B and C.
Between 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. when the candidates were writing the English paper and joined by the Hoourable Member of Parliament for Krowor and Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, the Team was at the Nungua SHS and Nungua M/A Cluster of Schools centres to monitor and to appreciate how things were happening.
The Team could not have the chance to interact with the candidates as it reached the centres at a time that the examination had already started. The officials just passed by the precincts of the examination halls as they would not want to distract the attention of the candidates.
At the Nungua SHS Centre “A”, where Mr. Emmanuel Afotey-Otu spoke to the Team as the supervising officer, there are 187 candidates (comprising 96 males and 91 females with two absentees). The Nungua SHS Centre “B” has Francis Adika as the supervisor with a total of 262 candidates, comprising 127 males and 137 females, and three absentees. The Nungua SHS “C” hosts 228 candidates (with 117 males and 111 females, and 1 absentee) with Stella Aggor as the supervisor.
The Nungua Cluster of Schools centres 1 and 2 has a total of 757 candidates, comprising 339 males and 418 girls with five absentees, and Ebenezer Otu and Daniel Mensah were at post as the supervisors as their invigilators supported them at the respective centres.
The Team moved to the Sakumono Corpus Christi School Complex and Tema SHS centres in the Tema Metropolis, which have some 1,500 candidates with ten recorded absentees on the first day of the examination. All invigilators and supervisors, including Philip Gablah, Bismark Aidoo, Prosper Ashiagbor and E.B. Allotey-Addo were present and doing their work as expected.
One interesting thing that the Team observed is the fact that all the ten centres visited had active-looking police officers and nurses to keep security and to attend to any psycho-emotional and health challenge that any candidate would face. And it should be the prayer of all of us that this year’s examination ends well.
The writer is an educationist and a public relations officer of Ghana Education Service.
E-mail: [email protected]