This year, final-year junior high school (JHS) students will sit for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) from Monday, October 17 to Friday, October 21, 2022. This is unlike the situation last year when candidates wrote the examination in November.
According to the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the change is part of a gradual process by the ministry to restore the examination to the month of June, as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Junior Graphic would want to believe that candidates are leaving no stone unturned and feverishly preparing for the examination in order to come out with flying colours, so that they can gain admission to their first-choice senior high schools (SHSs).
We hope school authorities, on the other hand, are also doing everything to prepare their candidates well to ensure that they go for a 100 per cent pass in the BECE, not only to lift the image of their schools but also serve as an attraction to increase enrolment and revenue.
It is somehow surprising that at such a crucial moment you find some candidates lazing about, thinking that they can get help from their friends and teachers. Others also engage in examination malpractice by entering the examination halls with foreign materials. The consequences of this can be dire, as candidates can have their entire results cancelled or even banned from writing West African Examinations Council (WAEC)-organised examinations for a number of years.
It is rather unfortunate that some school authorities who should know better also engage in this negative act. For instance, last year, it was reported that WAEC security persons, in collaboration with the National Security, arrested 11 teachers and a head teacher over BECE malpractice.
The 12 were picked up at two examination centres in the Offinso municipality in the Ashanti Region and the Senase R/C Basic School in Berekum in the Bono Region.
This attitude of school authorities and teachers is very appalling.
A former Head of the National Office, WAEC, the Very Rev. Dr Sam Nii Nmai Ollenu, disclosed at a seminar that the council lost millions of cedis when examinations were cancelled due to malpractice.
In view of this, both WAEC and the Ministry of Education introduced the serialisation of examination questions in the 2021 BECE in order to forestall this problem and help reduce cheating in the examination halls.
He said this year, more BECE questions would be serialised to ensure that candidates did independent work and not cheat in the exam.
The Junior Graphic would like to encourage all BECE candidates to study hard to excel. As candidates, you have to work very hard to achieve your dream. Hard work brings a lot of satisfaction.
Cheating your way through is not the best because one day you will be exposed and that will tarnish your reputation.
The BECE is the first external examination you are going to write and so study hard and write the papers with confidence, pass and get admitted to the schools of your choice. Know that what you want to become someday depends on this examination, so put in your all.
Your future is in your hands. All the best.