The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Zabzugu in the Northern Region, Alhassan Umar, has dragged the Minister of Education to parliament over an attempt by the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) to wreck the future of over 350 students in the area.
According to the MP, who described the single cancellation of Integrated Science Subject paper during the 2017 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), as discriminatory, said the future of the students hangs in the balance as it affects their admission into the senior high schools.
For the students, Hon. Umar posed an urgent question to the minister of education as to what the ministry was doing about the cancellation of the Basic Education Certificate Examination results of 350 students in the Zabzugu Constituency.
“Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Minister for Education what government intends to do for the 350 BECE Pupils/Candidates in Zabzugu whose Integrated Science Examination results were cancelled,” Hon Alhassan asked.
The Zabzugu lawmaker, who is a member of Health Sub- Committee of parliament, said WAEC cancelled the Integrated Science examination results of pupils from Duvugu JHS, Nuria JHS, Rajia JHS and Gor JHS, who sat for the BECE at the Zabzugu Senior High School centre.
He stated that, what is most disturbing was that the students sat for the exams in different exam rooms and wondered how 350 students who did not sit in same exam room ended up cheating when there were officially assigned invigilators.
In his view, the innocent pupils should not be unduly punished for the negligence of officials who are directly or indirectly connected to ensuring that there was proper conduct of the examination.
However, the Minister of Education, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, in response, said the 350 examination papers were cancelled on the grounds that there was massive malpractice and cheating in that subject, as was found out by WAEC, for which reason the Integrated Science paper was cancelled.
When asked further, what the future for the affected students, the minister said, since the exam malpractices took place in one particular centre, the students would not have the opportunity to re-write that paper, unless they (students) register again and write it as private candidates, possibly next year.
“We don’t need to condone examination malpractices but rather encourage our students all the time to learn hard and write their final examinations without cheating,” the minister stressed.
With the introduction of the private BECE, Dr. Prempreh said, the students whose Integrated Science examination was cancelled could have a second opportunity to sit and write as private candidates.
But The MP told The Republic, the minister’s answers were not satisfactory, because, “as at now, the affected students could not access further education to the SHS, “noting that, “it is unfortunate that our innocent children are being treated this way when we are talking of free SHS.”
Mr. Alhassan told the paper, he would take personal interest in the matter and ensure that the affected 350 students, as well as similar cases, are not made to become school drop-outs.
He said, ensuring that the students further their education is a must, because it would take away the burden on the society to care for such in different ways, adding that he would personally get all the 350 students registered for the private BECE examination.
“You know these students are coming from very deprived communities and parents may find it very difficult to get them registered for the private exam, so I am very much concerned about their plight; these innocent children should not go through all these.
“So I will do everything possible to ensure that they re-write the BECE and continue with their education, because that is the only means by which they could also one day contribute to the development of their communities and this country,” he said.
Source:therepubliconline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba