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Slippers land BECE candidates in trouble

The dreams of 12 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) candidates of obtaining their first academic certificate nearly turned into a nightmare when they were almost barred from writing the first paper on Monday at the Ho Kabore JHS Centre for wearing slippers instead of the prescribed cross-sandals.

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To their surprise, the unsuspecting pupils were reprimanded on arrival at the examination centre and instructed to go home after the English paper and come back better dressed for the Religious and Moral Education (RME) paper in the afternoon.

However, the Municipal Director of Education, Dr Esther Adzo Yeboah-Adzima, who happened to be at the centre to wish the candidates well, stepped in to pardon the victims and extended the grace period to Tuesday, reports Graphic Online's Alberto Mario Noretti from Ho.

“The school uniform does not go with slippers,” Dr Yeboah-Adzima explained. She maintained that the examination candidates should understand that they were not yet school leavers who could dress anyhow without consideration for school regulations, especially concerning their appearance.

That drama was followed by another interesting spectacle when all the 260 candidates at the centre were only allowed to enter their respective examination rooms after taking off the covers of their pens.

“This is because last year some candidates stuck pieces of paper with answers on them into the pen covers, and we do not want that to happen again,” said the centre’s supervisor, Makafui Doe Ama Fiagbe.

The candidates were also searched thoroughly to prevent them from entering the examination rooms with any foreign material. In spite of that, Ms Fiagbe said the examination took off smoothly without any hitch.

Visually-impaired

Meanwhile, 36 visually-impaired BECE pupils were among the 29,316 candidates in the Volta Region, where girls outnumber boys in the week-long examination. From public schools, the candidates include 12,316 girls and 12,204 boys, while candidates from private schools are made up of 2,466 girls and 12,204 boys.

 Some of the candidates in slippers at the Kabore JHS Centre in Ho

 Some of the candidates in slippers at the Kabore JHS Centre in Ho

The Volta Regional Director of Education, Francis Yaw Agbemadi, disclosed this to the Daily Graphic in Ho before the commencement of the BECE at the various centres yesterday.
He said the visually-impaired candidates comprised 14 boys and 22 girls.

The BECE, Mr Agbemadi said, was taking place at 115 centres in the region, with a total of 977 invigilators and 115 centre supervisors. There were no reported incidents at any of the centres in the municipality at the time of filing this report.

Reports reaching Ho from the North Tongu District, which is still recovering from the ravages of last year’s floods, indicated that the BECE took off in eight centres as expected. The District Director of Education, Isabella Ayimey, who spoke to the Daily Graphic on the phone from Mepe, said 2,046 candidates from 82 schools wrote the paper.

She said there were three visually-impaired boys among the candidates. At the Ho-Kpodzi E.P. JHS ‘D’ Centre, the paper started at 9 a.m. as scheduled, with 321 candidates.

The centre supervisor, Selorm Adjei, said the 321 candidates were made up of 177 girls and 144 boys. He said unlike last year, there were no pregnant girls among the candidates.

Accra

The Ghana Education Service (GES) has given assurance that adequate measures have been put in place to reduce malpractices and any infractions that can mar this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), Joshua Bediako Koomson reports.

Prior to the exam, the Director General of the GES, Dr Eric Nkansah, said massive sensitisation exercises were organised in most of the basic schools across the country where students were advised to refrain from examination malpractice.

In addition, he said the students were made aware of the punitive measures put in place for those who would be found culpable of examination malpractice. “Fortunately, this year, you saw the President deliver a message to the candidates and admonished them to eschew any form of malpractice.

 It can't get any better than this. It appears that almost everyone has come to understand examination malpractice is not the way to go,” he said. Dr Nkansah said this when he, together with some officials from the GES, carried out a monitoring exercise at some centres in Accra yesterday to ascertain the reality on the ground.

The centres visited were Osu Presby Girls Junior High School (JHS), Private Odartey Lamptey JHS and Accra High School. At each examination centre, the officials were updated on the number of students who were taking the exams, absentees, security issues and the number of registered schools.

Encouragement

Speaking to journalists after the inspection, Dr Nkansah wished the candidates well and encouraged them to aim at attaining higher grades. “You have spent many years in school to learn and now is the time for you to come and show what you have learnt. Believe in your abilities and don’t ask anybody for help because there is no assurance that what the person is telling you is the correct answer,” he said.

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Koforidua

From the Eastern Regional capital, Koforidua, Haruna Yussif Wunpini reports that 53,262 pupils are taking part in the examination across the region, of which 44,808 are from the public schools and 8,456 from private schools at 195 centres across the region.

Also included are 68 pupils of special needs, who have been registered by the Ghana Education Service (GES) to sit the examination.

Out of the 68 pupils, 24 are from the Akropong School for the Blind; 17 from the Demonstration School for the Deaf, Mampong; 16 from the Koforidua School for the Deaf, and 11 from the Kibi School for the Deaf.

The Daily Graphic also visited the Koforidua Secondary Technical School (SECTECH) and the Pentecost Senior High School centres. One of the candidates, Cynthia Acheampong, said she was hopeful of performing credibly to enable her to enter senior high school.

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Kumasi

From Kumasi, Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor reports that  9,274 candidates are taking part in the BECE at 35 centres throughout the metropolis. The female candidates outnumbered the males by more than 300, with girls being 4,789 as against 4,485 boys.

Tour

The Metro Director of Education, David Oppong, together with the Chief Executive of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Samuel Pyne, and other officials of the assembly toured some of the centres to wish the candidates well and also assess the progress of the examination.

Some of the centres visited included State Experimental M/A, Kumasi Senior High Technical School, Opoku Ware Senior High School, St. Hubert's Senior High, and Seminary School.

Advice

In his short address to the candidates, Mr Pyne asked them to remain calm and avoid any examination malpractice but be disciplined and not lose their composure. He wished them well and urged them to ensure that they excel to enable them to benefit from the Free SHS policy.

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“Pay attention to instructions and directions from your examination supervisors, and I hope you will pass well to take advantage of President Nana Akufo-Addo's Free SHS policy after this examination.

This examination marks the beginning of your career,” he said. Meanwhile, Emmanuel Baah also reports from Kumasi that 110,742 were expected to sit for this year's BECE in the Ashanti Region, comprising 55,175 boys and 55,567 girls,

When the Daily Graphic team visited Centres 'A' and 'B' at the Kumasi Anglican SHS Examination, where 468 candidates were expected to take the examination, it came to light that two girls from Grace Baptist Preparatory School at Amakom and St Cyprian's Anglican "B" JHS had failed to turn up.

Joseph Wiafe, the supervisor for Centre 'A', told the Daily Graphic that the examination commenced at exactly 9 a.m. without any hitches. "So far, we haven't had any challenges", he said, adding that the only mishap was the absence of the two girls.

He said he contacted the two schools but could not get any information regarding their failure to report.

Tamale

Mohammed Fugu reports from Tamale that 33,844 candidates from 777 schools are sitting for this year's BECE in the Northern Region. The candidates comprise 17,796 boys and 16,048 girls from both private and public JHSs.

At the Northern School of Business (NOBISCO) centres A, B and C, five candidates, made up of four girls and a boy, were absent. The examination officers could not give reasons for their absence.

The Northern Regional Director of GES, Katumi Natogmah Attah, advised the candidates against any form of examination malpractice that could lead to the cancellation of their papers.

Upper East Region

Gilbert Mawuli Agbey reports from Bolgatanga that this year’s BECE commenced smoothly across all centres in the Upper East Region yesterday. The 21,214 candidates taking part in the examination are drawn from 712 public and private basic schools.

Also, 16 hearing-impaired candidates are taking part in the examination in the Talensi District. In the Bolgatanga Municipality, two new examination centres were created at the Bolgatanga Technical University and the Great Victory Academy to reduce the pressure on the existing centres.

The Municipal Chief Executive for Bolgatanga, Rex Asanga, accompanied by the Municipal Director of Education, Anne Estella Kye-ebo, visited both centres to monitor the examination.

Mr Asanga urged the candidates not to panic but to remain calm and answer all the questions to the best of their ability, saying, “I am optimistic that you have been adequately prepared to excel in the examination.”

Upper West Region

From Wa, Sahada Dramani reports that 14,575 candidates from the Upper West Region are participating in this year's BECE, comprising 6,937 females and 7,637 males In the Wa municipality, 3,972 candidates from 109 schools are participating at 12 centres.

The examination officer, Mr Salifu Kalah Abu, cautioned candidates to avoid examination malpractice and concentrate on what they had learnt so far and be reminded that students were not supposed to pay any money for papers”.

The Upper West Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu, expressed the hope that this year's BECE would be the best.

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