Education think tank – Africa Education Watch (EduWatch) has expressed concern over the Ghana Education Service (GES) decision to allegedly punish unqualified Junior High School students who sat for the 2023 edition of the BECE.
The Ghana Education Service in a letter has tasked heads of Junior High Schools to submit attendance reports of first and second-year Junior High School (JHS) students who absented themselves during the period of the 2023 BECE.
The purported letter sighted by AcademicWeek directed all Regional, Metro and District Directors of Education to provide names of attending and absent prospective students from Monday, August 7th to Friday, August 11th, 2023.
But, the Director of EduWatch, Kofi Asare reacting to the GES letter said many parents have complained to his outfit about the fear of GES punishing their JHS 2 wards who wrote the 2023 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
“Their apprehension is arising from a GES circular asking headteachers to provide data on absentee students during the BECE week. The parents are worried the GES will negatively influence their ward’s BECE results or place them in low-category SHS as punishment.
Per my little understanding of the assessment and certification system, the Ghana Education Service (GES) cannot influence the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) results
The school placement system is not a punishment tool. It places based on merit, with limited protocol allocations. I am not aware of any criteria that seek to punish non-Junior High School (JHS) 3 candidates. It would be unfair.
Listening to media commentary by some public MoE/GES Officers on the subject matter, it appears to me that there is a policy position against non-JHS 3 students writing BECE. It would be great to read it, if written, and possibly review same.
Moving forward, the MoE must communicate and justify clearly to stakeholders, especially parents, its policy position on JHS 1 & 2 students writing BECE in both private and public schools.
It would be very useful for stakeholders to engage the said policy to achieve wider acceptance and compliance, based on its merit.
For planning purposes, non-JHS 3 students sitting for BECE affect resource allocation to secondary education. This is because expenditure projections at that level are made using Junior High School (JHS) 3 enrolment data,” he said.
A total of 600,714 candidates, comprising 300,323 boys and 300,391 girls from 18,993 Junior High Schools participated in the 2023 BECE for School Candidates which began on Monday, August 7, 2023, to Friday, August 11, 2023.
With regard to the 2023 BECE for Private Candidates, a total entry figure of 1,743 candidates was recorded. This is made up of 889 males and 854 females. This year’s figure is 5.4% higher than the entry figure of 1,132 for 2022.
The 2023 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) for School Candidates was held at 2,137 examination centres across the country, while 15 centres mainly in the regional capitals were used for the BECE for Private candidates.