BECE challenge could have been avoided

BECE challenge could have been avoided

The announcement last Friday that the government has released GHc47.125 million for the successful conduct of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) this year came as a relief not just to parents, but the entire country. (See today’s Front Page)

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The amount, which is about half of the total sum required for a successful conduct of the examination, was indeed the request of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to enable it to commence the examination.

The Daily Graphic sees the release of the fund as timely to enable WAEC to conduct the examination for a smooth take-off of the 2024/2025 academic year.

 WAEC’s expression of doubt about its ability to conduct the BECE as scheduled was a disturbing piece of news, especially as management of the education system is making effort to restore the pre-COVID academic calendar.

For us, this desperate plea by WAEC and the subsequent late release of funds for the commencement of the examination should not have happened.

Admittedly, the government depends on the trickling in of revenue to fund most of its obligations. But we think there are certain expenditures that cannot wait and one of such is funds for the conduct of a national exercise such as the BECE.

It is a fact that there is no way the government would renege on its responsibility to fund the conduct of the examination and so we wonder why it would wait until such a crucial time before releasing the funds.

Surely, an emergency release such as this requires an emergency expenditure and that is why WAEC would have to spend three times the cost of sea freight to airlift critical examination materials.

This additional expenditure that is going to be incurred could have been avoided if priority had been given to the funding of the examination. At this time of the country’s economic situation, we need to use our revenues judiciously to address the huge gap of developmental challenges in various sectors of the economy, so this is not the time to incur expenditure that could have been avoided.

Certainly, Ghanaians are asking questions about what is happening in the education sector and we call on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to demand answers to such avoidable challenges

 This has become imperative, especially when he rode on the back of education to the Jubilee House and proved all critics wrong with the implementation of the free senior high school (SHS, which has become a testament to his commitment to the educational sector.

We believe there are too many complaints from the public about the education sector, and it is time to take a second look at the sector to address any challenges to justify the huge expenditure on education.

The signs have been on the wall since 2022 that the direction WAEC was moving could end up in indebtedness to its suppliers and other stakeholders at unsustainable levels.

Delays in payment of allowances to officials who superintend the execution of the examination, buying of materials on hire purchase, which is often double the actual price, and emergency purchases such as what WAEC is doing currently are activities that the council has to avoid.

The experience garnered by WAEC in the conduct of examinations in the sub-region is incontestable and for it to conduct a successful examination, it needs the full support, especially at this time when the government has absorbed the payment of the examination fee of almost all the candidates.

Everybody, especially the government, has a role to play to ensure that WAEC’s work is not compromised so that certificates issued by the institution remain credible and acceptable internationally.

We also note that even though we cannot separate education from politics, especially in a country such as ours where national issues are turned into political gymnastics, our political leaders must be circumspect in handling education.

That is the reason the Daily Graphic takes exception to the conduct of a Member of Parliament (MP) who misled the Majority Chief Whip when he whispered GHc80 million as money released for the BECE.

We can only appeal to our MPs to get their facts right in order not to create any problems for the country.
E

ducation is a leveller that bridges the gap between the rich and the poor and so, a good educational foundation, such as the BECE, is a springboard for our children to launch  into their future potential.

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We must let this year's challenge be a lesson for us all going forward.

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