Child Rights International (CRI) has called on the Ministry of Education (MoE) to consider using the continuous assessment as an alternative to award certification and grade students who are billed to sit for BECE and WASSCE.
This could make things easy for MoE and the Ghana Education Service (GES) in the award of certificates and grading of students in the wake of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic which has disrupted academic activities.
A statement issued and signed by CRI Executive Director Bright Appiah said, “Irrespective of the impact Covid-19 is having on the educational sector, the country’s primary goal is to ensure that children's rights are minimally affected, especially their right to education.”
“Whatever decision that is taken concerning this particular area, the country must ensure it is in line with constitutional directives which indicate we must put the best interest of children first,” the statement said.
CRI said the process of grading students this term should be scrapped completely to pave the way for the adoption of a new system of rewarding marks to students.
Some JSS students
In the new system, Mr. Appiah proposed that the continuous assessment must be made a priority in grading students.
Currently, at the BECE level, the continuous assessment forms 40 per cent of the whole examination scores, while at the WASSCE level it is 30 per cent calculated cumulatively.
To guarantee the integrity of the continuous assessment, Mr. Appiah suggested new indicators including students' performance in schools, their history in terms of their class and homework, contributions in class activities, their predicted results over the past three years in school, and their schools' record over the past five years to determine students who will get either A or B.
To also ensure equity in grade A, B and C schools, he said the benchmark must differ based on the history of a school.
For instance, Mr. Appiah said the benchmark to assess the grading of some top-notch schools might be 80 per cent, while others might be 70 or less depending on their previous records.
Explaining why it was necessary to adopt a new approach for this term, Mr. Appiah said the education was one of the major sectors gravely affected by Covid-19 globally.
Making reference to a recent UNESCO report, he said the number of children who had been out of school due to the pandemic stood around one billion worldwide.
“Nine out of 10 children were out of school as a result of the virus outbreak,” CRI stated.
Faced with similar situations, Mr. Appiah said countries had devised ways of ensuring that schoolchildren still had access to education, while complying with directives to practise social distancing.
He mentioned countries like France and the USA who have taken steps to rectify the issue by waiving examinations all together and implementing new protocols.