The annual Basic Education Certificate Examination is here with us again. From June 13 to the 17th of this month, the nation's attention will focus on this all important and crucial examination which will select qualified candidates with aggregates between 6 and 30 to enter Senior High as well as Technical and Vocational Institutions in the country. In all 461,013 pupils will sit for this year's examination at 1,598 centres. As usual, pupils will be examined in the following subjects: English Language, Mathematics, Integrated Science, Social Studies, Religious and Moral Education, Basic Design and Technology, Information and Communication Technology, Ghanaian Language and French which is optional. The need for a smooth conduct of this year's BECE cannot be over emphasized. It is a national exercise which must be devoid of leakage of examination questions, unnecessary suspicions, rumours, and rancour which may put the whole exercise into limbo and dent the high reputation of Ghana's education system. The just ended WASSCE and its attendant hiccups are still fresh in the minds of Ghanaians and for that matter stakeholders in Education will like to open a new page and put behind them, the unfortunate leakage of examination questions which occurred in this year's WASSCE as well as last year's BECE which culminated in the cancellation of five papers.
The Ghanaian public this time expect a clean bill of health in the conduct of the BECE. The success of this examination will not only be a feather in the cap of WAEC, but will once again restore public confidence which appears to be on the wane. It would further save WAEC and the taxpayer from incurring extra cost in the rerun of such leaked question papers. For example in the 2002 BECE, the rerun of some leaked question papers cost WAEC a colossal sum of GH¢ 330,000. Again a successful conduct of the 2016 BECE would ensure that the right calibers of candidates are selected to pursue different courses at the second cycle institutions. It is however an undeniable fact that ensuring a successful conduct of the BECE does not lie with WAEC alone. All stakeholders in Education have a role to play. According to available information WAEC has put in place certain security measures. Pupils are not to bring into the examination hall any foreign materials such as notes, textbooks, prepared materials or any printed materials. Pupils are forbidden to bring into the examination hall without prior authorization, a blank piece of paper, the manual of a calculator or any other material which is intended to give them undue advantage. Additionally, pupils are not allowed to bring into the examination hall a programmable calculator, mobile phones or any other electronic communication device. Personnel from WAEC can make unannounced visits to any examination centre to ensure that the conduct of the examination there is in compliance with the rules and regulations of WAEC.
These security measures alone cannot be the panacea to ensuring a smooth conduct of the examination. Parents and guardians also have a role to play to ensure a smooth conduct of examination. They should advise and encourage their wards to exercise self-discipline, study hard and pass well without cheating. Heads of public and private schools should avoid unhealthy competition to outdo one another in examinations. They should rather compare notes among themselves for the advancement of their various schools and the betterment of the nation. Good wishes to all candidates.
BY ALEX AMPONFI- DUKU, A RETIRED HEADMASTER