This year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) ended smoothly across the country with wild jubilation by candidates.
While some candidates sang praises and danced to the glory of God for the successful end of the examination, others hugged their colleagues while the rest shouted and poured talcum powder on one another, (a sign of victory), in the course of the celebrations, reports Emmanuel Bonney, ACCRA.
The examination did not record any major incident. However, as has been the case over the years, there were a number of absentees at some of the examination centres. A few pregnant candidates also wrote the examination, which was written for the third time in the month of June.
Previously, the BECE was written in February, but the problem of the collection of third term school fees, among other things, compelled the Ghana Education Service (GES) to shift it to June.
This year’s candidates will be the first batch of students to enjoy the free Senior High School (SHS) policy announced by the government, which begins from the 2017/2018 academic year in September, this year.
At the 60th anniversary celebration of Okuapemman School, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo gave an assurance that his government “will fund the cost of public SHSs for all those who qualify for entry from the 2017/2018 academic year onwards”.
The President added that, “Free SHS will also cover agricultural, vocational and technical institutions at the high school level.”
From the Ashanti Region, Emmanuel Baah reports that the B.E.C.E ended successfully.
A visit to various centres including the Kumasi Anglican SHS (KASS) and the Saint Luois SHS at Oduom, saw estatic candidates storm out of the exam centres onto the streets in jubilation after writing the final paper.
Some were captured carrying battery backed Ghetto Blasters as they danced to Shata Wale's hit song, 'Taking Over'.
Be careful while waiting
From the Upper East Region, Vincent Amenuveve reports from Bolgatanga that the Regional Director of the GES, Madam Sabina Obeng, has advised the BECE candidates to take good care of themselves in order to benefit from the government's interventions, including the free SHS programme.
In an interview hours after the BECE candidates had finished writing their last paper, Social Studies yesterday, she said some of the candidates might be tempted to engage in social vices and immoral acts that could lead to teenage pregnancies, thereby hindering their progress in education.
Samuel Duodu reports from Tamale that the BECE ended peacefully across the Northern Region with some of the candidates expressing optimism that they would be among the first batch of SHS students to enjoy the free SHS policy.
However, there were pockets of incidents, remarkable among them was the case of 200 candidates from three communities in the Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo District who could not write two papers on the first day of the examination.
The candidates from Gabatia, Gbogbamong and Guagdian were said to have been prevented from writing the exam at Gbankoni as a result of a conflict over land between the Gabatia communities and the host centre community.
The affected candidates who could’t write the English paper, which is a core subject, and the Religious and Moral Education (RME) paper, would have to wait to re-sit the two papers next year.
While they were biting their fingers for their inability to continue their education at the SHS level in September this year, their counterparts in other parts of the region expressed their gratitude to God for taking them through the examination successfully.
The Northern Regional Director of Education, Alhaji Mohammed Haroon, described the general atmosphere for the examination in the region as peaceful and reiterated that the case of the 200 candidates who could not write the two papers on the first day of the examination was the only set back.
A total of 468,053 public and private final-year junior high school (JHS) students wrote the 2017 BECE. The candidates comprised 241,148 males and 226,905 females.
This year’s total candidature represented an increase of 7,040 candidates over last year’s figure of 461,013.
The examination was written at 1,702 centres across the country.