PPP Demands BECE Cancellation

The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has questioned the relevance of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), demanding it to be scrapped.

According to the party, the Examination has rather become a “torture” to students of junior high school (JHS) instead of testing their academic prowess.

“What is the use of this certificate called BECE if it cannot guarantee job opportunities for such children after graduation?” the party queried in a statement issued on Tuesday, June 6.

The Basic Education Certificate Examination is here with us again. We are told that a total of 468,053 candidates will sit for this year’s BECE which will start from Monday, 5th June and end on Friday 9th June 2017. Within this 5 day period, Children as young as 12, 13 years will be required to write this external examination in 8 compulsory subjects; which includes English Language, Ghanaian Language and Culture, Social Studies, Integrated Science, Mathematics, Basic Design and Technology, Information and Communication Technology, French (optional), Religious and Moral Education. And this examination is both for certification and selection to Senior High Schools and Technical Institutions.

Until recently, children were writing 12 subjects within the same 5-day period. The question is, why this academic torture? Is it surprising that, for over 20 years since this examination was introduced by former President Rawlings, we have always recorded 50% failure every year? This implies that this 50% are unable to further their education at the Senior High Schools and Technical Institutions. Why should this be the case? What is the use of this certificate called BECE if it cannot guarantee job opportunities for such children after graduation?

If education is the soul of a nation, and a mind is a terrible thing to waste, then we cannot conspire to ruin the future of our children. We have subjected innocent children to write this examination for over 20 years with 50% failure every year. The rippling effect is the many young men and women we see gallivanting on our streets.

Must we not pause to answer why this constant failure? Or is it a deliberate policy NOT to allow every child to benefit from Senior Secondary School education? Beyond the discriminatory grading system (Stanine grading system) adopted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC), do we NOT know that there are fundamental problems which makes it extremely difficult for many children; especially those from deprived homes to pass this external examination?

Must it take a rocket scientist to know that if children have to walk for long distances in search of water when they should be studying, then their passing of the exams will be dependent on the grace of God?

If over 167 communities in Tatale; together with communities such Kalveo Chiana; Otwereso Praso; Kroboase; Mensahkrom; Apoli Ningo; and many others have no electricity, then will it NOT take the grace of God for such children to pass the BECE?

If according to UNICEF, more than 1 in 5 children in Ghana is stunted, meaning – they do not get the right nutrition to enhance their thinking ability, then will it also NOT take the grace of God for such children to pass the BECE? If a child would have to use cutlass in place of a ruler to underline his work in school, then this is sufficient reasonable evidence of the problems on our hands. Not to talk of those who write without furniture and learn without teachers.

The sad truth is that majority of the 50% that fail the BECE exams on yearly basis are from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds.

If over $3 billion of taxpayer’s money can go waste in corrupt activities every year, then we have no reason to put barriers in the ways of innocent children from getting access to free SHS education. The decision by the current government to allow only those who pass the exams an opportunity to enjoy free SHS is objectionable.

If human beings are curious by nature, then until we deal with the fundamental problems, no child should be given any condition for accessing SHS. If children can easily continue from class 6 to JHS 1 without any external examination (condition), then the same arrangement must be made for easy progression from JSS 3 to SSS 1.

As indicated by Albert Einstein, “everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”. The solution is for government to scrap the BECE.

Final exams should rather be written at the Senior Secondary School level (WASSCE) where the children are considered to be mature enough to make a determination of their destiny.

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