509, 824 candidates begin BECE today

Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh,Minister of Education

Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh,Minister of Education

This year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) begins today with a total of 509, 824 candidates from 16,060 basic schools across the country.

Comprising 263,295 males and 246,529 females, the figure is an 8.9 per cent increase over the 2017 figure of 468,060.

This year, 497,016 candidates will write Information Communication Technology while 212, 170 others will write French.

The five-day examination, which is being written at 1,772 centres nationwide, has 66 visually impaired candidates participating.

According to the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Ashanti Region has the largest candidature of 105, 608 followed by Central Region with 54,639; Western Region with 53,486 and Brong Ahafo Region with 48,133.

In Eastern Region, 46,993 candidates would be writing the examination alongside 43,232 in the Northern Region, 35,924 in the Volta Region, 21,143 in the Upper East Region and 12, 313 in the Upper West Region.

A statement issued by Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, Deputy Director, Public Affairs at WAEC National Office assured that all necessary measures were in place to ensure the smooth conduct of the examinations.

It appealed to the public, especially candidates, to be cautious of rogue website operators who peddled fake questions as authentic papers.

“Candidates are also cautioned against engaging in any examination malpractice of any form especially collusion which is prevalent at the BECE,” it said.

The statement said the council with the aid of Item Differentia Profile, a software, could detect any form of cheating in their objective tests and their scripts during marking.

Noting that candidates could pass their examination without cheating, she appealed for support from all stakeholders especially supervisors and invigilators to protect the integrity of the examination.

Meanwhile, unlike previous years in which candidates selected their preferred SHSs before the examination, this year’s candidates would do so after their examination.

A statement issued by Cassandra Twum Ampofo,  Head, Public Relations of GES, said the candidates would have three weeks after the examination to select the schools.

“Management therefore wishes to assure all candidates that there is no cause for alarm and they should not be distracted by this development.” The statement said.

Explaining further in an interview, she said the delay was as a result of a change in the school register used for the selection and that it had been regrouped from options into categories.

Additionally, she explained that there was a new policy guideline for selection of schools which for an example required that students chose five schools instead of four.

“WAEC had to redesign their software to fit into the new policy guidelines. And this caused the delay, “she said.

The development has attracted diverse views from parents. While some felt it was good, other felt otherwise.

Mrs Mercy Otabil, a parent, told the Ghanaian Times that her child was scheduled to travel abroad the weekend after the examination and that she was at a crossroads.

“If the GES had announced earlier, we would have known what to do”, she lamented.

Another parent, Charles Ackon, said the schools selected by candidates was one of the factors that encouraged them to work harder to qualify for admission and that the change will somewhat be like shooting without an aim.

Contrary to this assertion, another parent, Elsie Hagan said the change was good and should be maintained as the performance of the candidates in the examination would inform the school they would choose.

“If they perform well, will be confident to choose the big schools and vice versa if they feel they did not perform well,” she said.

Candidates who pass the examination and are duly placed in SHSs would form the second batch of students to enjoy the free SHS programme introduced by the government last year.

By Jonathan Donkor       

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