This year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), began yesterday at 1,546 examination centres across the country.
In all, 438,030 candidates from 13,438 public and private schools were registered to write the examination.
The Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, during a tour of some of the centres in Accra yesterday, said about 229,724 of the number were males while 208,306 were females.
She said the figure represents an increase of 15,084, which is 3.56 per cent over last year’s number of 422,946.
Prof. Opoku-Agyemang advised the candidates to comport themselves during the five-day examination, and avoid malpractices that could put the examination into disrepute.
She also encouraged them to bring to imbibe what they have been taught by their teachers during their nine years of basic education, saying, “we have adequately prepared the students and we believe they will do well.”
At Accra High School, where the minister made her first point of call, about 489 candidates from 11 schools were gathered as at 8: 20 a.m. to sit for the English Language Paper Two, which was the first paper.
The Supervisor of the Centre, Mr. Emmanuel Tekyi, said all the candidates had reported except one person who was ill.
According to him, materials for the examination were delivered on time for it to start at 9 a.m. as scheduled by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).
The Deputy Minister of Education in-charge of Tertiary Education, Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, visited some centres at Nungua and Teshie, to familiarise himself with the exercise.
The centres include those at Teshie Southern Cluster of Schools, Nungua Senior High School (SHS), Quaye Nungua Centre and Nungua LEKMA 1.
Mr. Ablakwa urged the candidates to eschew malpractices and rather be guarded by examination regulations, which he believed would help carve a positive image for examinations in the country.
At the Teshie Southern Cluster of Schools, more than 600 candidates from 21 schools sat for the first paper at three different centres.
The Supervisor for Centre ‘B’, Mr. Isaac Acquah, said examination materials were delivered on time by WAEC while candidates from schools including Living Glory School, Amen International, and Anny-Maria reported, except one absentee from Standford Junior High School (JHS).
Joshua Odai, a student of Harmony JHS, told The Ghanaian Times that he was adequately prepared for the examination and believed he would excel.
From Adidome in the Volta Region, Alberto Mario Noretti, reports that the BECE began smoothly at the various centres in the Central Tongu District of the region yesterday.
At Centre A, in Adidome, the district capital, two visually impaired girls were among the 280 candidates writing papers when The Ghanaian Times turned up there at about 9.15 a.m.
Mr Justice Ahiable, the Centre Supervisor, said the examinations began at 8.08 am, with no irregularity.
At the Centre B, one male candidate out of the 228 candidates was absent. The candidates included 107 girls.
Mrs Angelica Attakey, the South Tongu District Director of Education, with additional responsibility for the Central Tongu District, was at the two centres to wish the candidates well in the examination.
“Cleary, they have started their examinations on a very good note, with no hitches”, she told The Ghanaian Times.
At the Devime Centre across the river, the District Chief Executive, Madam Mary Agbenyenu, arranged for transport to convey the examination papers early enough for the candidates there to start writing their papers at the same time as candidates at other centres in the district.
Madam Agbenyenu also visited the centres at Mafi-Kumase to wish the candidates well.
Madam Doris Day Ayita, the Girl Child Education Officer, said a total 297 candidates, including 53 boys, were registered for the BECE at Mafi-Kumase Centre A. However, two of the boys did not show up for the examination.
At Centre ‘B’, Madam Ayita said all the 211 candidates, including 96 girls turned up to write the examination.
Meanwhile, 642 candidates in Kete Krachi in the Krachi West District also began writing their examinations according to schedule yesterday.
From the Adenta Municipality, Lawrence Vomafa-Akpalu reports that 2391 candidates from 22 public and private schools were writing the examination at five centres.
The Municipal Chief Executive, Benjamin Angenu, advised candidates at the De Youngsters Examination Centre to obey examination rules and put in their best so that they could come out with flying colours.
Mr. Angenu urged the supervisors to be vigilant and fish out candidates who might engage in examination malpractices.
From Saltpond, David O. Yarboi-Tetteh, reports that in the Mfantsiman municipality four candidates were pregnant, but one of them was taking part in the examination while the rest were absent
This came to light when the Central Regional Minister and Member of Parliament for Mfantsiman, Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, yesterday, toured some examination centres in the municipality.
At the Kwegyir Aggrey Examination Centre “A”, two out of the 439 candidates, who registered for the examination were absent during the start of the first paper, while at the Kwegyir Aggrey Centre “B” two out of 489 candidates did not turn up for the paper.
The Supervisor at the centre, Gilbert Nyarko said that a candidate who started vomiting at the start of the English Language paper, was rushed to the nearby clinic for treatment, but had joined his colleagues to write the paper.
At the Mfantsiman Girls Examination Centre “A”, five out of the 508 candidates were absent at the beginning of the first paper while at the Mfantsiman Girls Centre “B” four out of the 391 candidates were not present.
Mr. Quansah was concerned about the reported cases of pregnancy among girls writing the BECE, and noted that the problem keeps recurring every year.
He, therefore, called on stakeholders to tackle the problem in order to enhance the girls’ education.
On the poor performance of basic education students in the region, he expressed optimism that there would be an improvement, considering the interventions that had been put in place to improve education in the region.
Castro Zangina-Tong reports that Mr. Joseph Nii Afotey-Agbo, Greater Accra Regional Minister, yesterday toured some examination centres in the region, to see whether conditions at the centres were conducive enough for the candidates to write their final examination considering the torrential rains that wreaked havoc on lives and properties in some parts of Accra on June 3.
Accompanied by the Regional Director of Education, Mrs Felicia Boakye-Yiadom and other dignitaries, the Minister visited the Armed Forces Secondary/Technical, Burma Camp Compound ‘A’ (Garrison), Aquinas Senior High and Labone Senior High Schools, some examination centres in the region.
All the 604 centres have adequate number of supervisors and invigilators to ensure sanity as 78,439 candidates are writing the examination in the region.
At the time Mr. Afotey-Agbo and his team visited the Armed Forces Sec/Tech at 9 a.m., the question papers had not been brought until 9:20 a.m. when they were finally brought for checking and distribution to the candidates to start.
The delay was attributed to the late distribution of the question papers by the WAEC to the various exam centres.
Advising the candidates, the regional minister said that success could be chalked out through hard work not by ‘juju’ or any magical powers.
He told them that as the nation’s proud future leaders, they should not indulge in any exam malpractices that have the tendency of ruining their academic career, stressing that education is vital to both human and national development.
“We hold the children of our dear motherland in high esteem and I know without any shred of doubt that you are young and intelligent and can perform better in your exams.”
Mrs. Boakye-Yiadom, was enthused about the attendance of the candidates as there was no record of either absentees or pregnant female candidates at the four examination centres the monitoring team visited.
By Charles Amanwka