Yesterday, pupils completing basic education in the country started writing their external cum national examination known by even the unlettered in the country as BECE, the acronym for Basic Education Certificate Examination.
The basic level of education is free and compulsory as it is meant for every child to acquire basic literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills as well as skills for creativity and healthy living.
In this country, this level of education currently includes kindergarten, primary and Junior High School (JHS) and lasts for 11 years.
What that means is that all things being equal, the candidates writing this year’s BECE have done 11 years of education and are using five days, which end on Friday, to say bye-bye to basic education.
The Ghanaian Times wishes to congratulate these candidates and future adults of this nation on doing well in staying focused to complete basic education.
They deserve the congratulations because they did not allow anything to force them to stop schooling like some of their mates who called it quits along the way.
Besides, the completion of basic education opens the door for them to decide what to do as preparation for adult life.
For instance, with the Akufo-Addo administration’s free Senior High School (SHS) policy, many of the BECE candidates would gain admission to second-cycle schools to pursue various courses while some may choose to go into apprenticeship.
In either case, opportunities await these adolescents to prepare to play their role one day as adults and champions of this nation’s development.
The BECE is therefore a watershed in the lives of the children of this country.
Therefore, the whole nation, particularly education policy makers, teachers, parents and the children themselves, should be alive to this remarkable factor that can contribute to the progress of children.
What we are driving at is that this factor should influence policy, teachers’ performance, teaching and learning supervision, parents’ support and the children’s own seriousness during the period of schooling, especially from the upper primary school level where they can understand certain related issues.
This is important because the preparation for BECE should start from day one of the child’s basic education.
This means all the stakeholders should play their respective roles properly right from the onset.
The situation where children, mostly those in the public school, cannot master reading, writing and numeracy at the primary school before they enter JHS is abnormal and must not be entertained in the country anymore.
Education in Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Finland are cherished all over the world because they prioritise reading, writing and numeracy.
Finland, for instance, has a pre-school or nursery system whose curriculum emphasises the foundations for reading and arithmetic.
As a policy, Finnish children start formal schooling at age seven and do so with the ability to read from day one.
This is also a country where heads of schools are strict about teacher performance and teachers do not antagonize their heads because the mantra there is that “Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted.”
As we all ponder over how to improve the country’s basic education to prepare its learners for the higher level and for life ahead, the Ghanaian Times once again congratulates candidates writing the 2022 BECE.