The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) says no arrangements can be made for the more than 200 candidates in three communities in the Northern Region who could not write two papers on the first day of this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) to do so again.
According to the Director of Public Affairs of WAEC, Mrs Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, the only option left for the candidates from Gabatia, Gbogbamong and Guagdian in the Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo District is to re-register as private candidates, later this year, to enable them to write the two papers.
She said the WAEC could not be blamed for the situation, adding that it was unfortunate.
Meanwhile, a new examination center has been created at Bunkpurugu, where the candidates can continue with the BECE.
Parents and some residents of Gabatia, Gbogbamong and Guagdian last Monday prevented their children from writing the BECE at Gbankoni, another community in the district.
Their reason was that there was a conflict between Gabatia and Gbankoni over a parcel of land, with tension still high between the two communities.
The community members claimed they informed the education authorities about the issue and asked them to give them a new centre in their community instead of Gbankoni, but that did not materialise and so they did not allow their children to go and write the examination at Gbankoni.
In an interview, the Northern Regional Director of Education, Alhaji Mohammed Haroon, said a bus had also been arranged to send the candidates to and from their communities to the new centre at Bunkpurugu, the district capital, for the exam.
Alhaji Haroon expressed the commitment of the Ghana Education Service (GES) to ensure that all candidates in the region wrote the examination in a peaceful atmosphere.
Process of creation of a centre
Answering questions on the plight of the affected candidates after touring some selected BECE centres in Accra yesterday, the acting Director-General of the GES, Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwah, explained that “asking for a centre, does not come overnight. It goes through a process.
“The WAEC and the GES have to work together to ensure that the centre deserves to be a centre in terms of security of the materials, the security of the children, who will be writing, the environment and the facilities in there are all intact. So we are appealing to parents, we are appealing to communities and we are appealing to schools that let’s abide by the rules,” he explained.
Prof. Opoku-Amankwah was in the company of the Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, and other officials from the GES and the Ministry of Education.
Mandate to create a centre
While admitting that the request of the people was genuine, Prof. Opoku-Amankwah stressed that timeliness in issues like that was critical and a short notice for the creation of an examination centre was not the best.
Outlining what it would take to create an examination centre, he said “we do not want a centre where it will take up to three hours to get there with the materials when the exams should have started, we do not want a centre where we do not even have a place to keep the materials or basic logistics.”
Prof. Opoku-Amankwah explained that the creation of the centres were the prerogative of the GES while it was the duty of a community to apply for an examination centre, explaining that the GES had its schools and centres based on the availability of logistics.
He said the right thing should have been for the community to write to the district directorate of education, which would, in turn, forward it to the regional directorate of education before it would get to the GES headquarters for action to be taken.
Dr Adutwum encouraged the candidates to put in their best to be able to come out with flying colours to enjoy the free SHS education promised by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.