There has been a huge drop in the number of candidates who have registered to write this year's Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) for Private Candidates from that of last year.
Statistics made available to the Junior Graphic by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) indicated that a total of 2,505 candidates had registered to write the 2019 examination as against the 11,815 candidates who wrote the exam last year, showing a difference of 9,310.
Asked what might have accounted for the huge drop in the number of candidates, the Head of Public Affairs of WAEC, Mrs Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, said it might be due to the reduction in the number of results which were cancelled in the BECE for School Candidates last year as compared to the 2017 edition where many results were cancelled because of malpractices.
"What I think might have accounted for the drop is that in 2017 quite a number of candidates had their results cancelled during the School BECE due to malpractices.
“We believe that those candidates might have registered for the Private BECE last year to enable them to rewrite the papers which were cancelled so as to take advantage of the Free Senior High School Policy," she said.
She said although WAEC was disappointed in the drop of the candidature for this year, that would not deter it from making the Private BECE available to interested candidates.
She drew attention to the fact that the exam was also for first-timers; those who have not written the BECE before, stressing that, “we will continue to make it available to them”.
The 2,505 candidates for this year's Private BECE comprise 1,553 males and 952 females.
The Greater Accra Region is presenting the highest number of candidates of 689, 416 males and 273 females.
The Eastern Region follows with 394 candidates, 263 males and 131 females while 301 candidates registered for the Ashanti Region (182 males and 119 females).
The Central Region has 269 candidates, 177 males and 92 females; Upper West Region, 204 candidates, 100 males and 104 females; Western Region, 180 males, 83 females and the Volta Region, 151 candidates made up of 97 males and 54 females.
The rest are the Upper East Region, 114 candidates; 68 males and 46 females; Brong Ahafo Region, 73 candidates, 36 males and 37 females as well as the Northern Region, 47 candidates, 34 males and 13 females.
The Private BECE began in 2015 to give candidates who did not perform well in the school edition of the exam to improve on their performance.
It also provides an opportunity for those who have never written the examination to do so.
In 2015, 1,181 candidates sat for the maiden examination while 1,418 candidates wrote the exam in 2016, with 1,379 writing in 2017.
This year’s BECE for Private Candidates would be written from February 11-15, at 11 centres across the country.