THIS year’s West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for school candidates will be conducted from Monday, July 31 to September 26, 2023.
Also, the Basic Education Certificate Examination for both school and private candidates for this year will be written simultaneously from Monday, August 7 to Friday, August 11, 2023.
The schedule for the two exit examinations for final-year students of senior high schools (SHSs) and junior high schools (JHS) have been brought forward a month, compared to the schedule for 2022.
While the 2022 WASSCE took place from Monday, August 1 to Tuesday, September 27, the BECE was written from October 17 to 21.
Addressing the press in Accra yesterday, the Head of Public Affairs of WAEC, Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, said the schedule, particularly for the WASSCE, would be for only candidates in Ghana.
Final-year students in SHSs sit the WASSCE as their exit examination and successful results enable them to pursue tertiary education.
While school candidates sit for the examination in July to September, private candidates usually write their papers from October to December, hence the popular name: Nov/Dec.
The BECE, on the other hand, is the exit examination for final-year JHS students, who, after successful completion, decide to continue at SHS or technical and vocational education training (TVET) centres or learn a trade, depending on one’s interest.
The timetable for these two examinations were disrupted in 2020 after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which compelled the government to close down schools and all other public gatherings in a bid to curb the spread of the disease.
Mrs Teye-Cudjoe said the portal for the registration of eligible candidates for the WASSCE for school candidates had been opened, and that it would close on Wednesday, April 19, 2023.
The council, she said, had held briefing sessions nationwide for the authorities of 978 schools who were expected to present candidates for the examination, and that during the briefing sessions, it was emphasised that school authorities should take note of the requirements during the registration process.
“These are the correct spelling of names and the arrangement of names in the right order: that is, surname, first name and other names; eg. Yeboah Daniel Kwabena.
“Confirmation of date of birth by candidates before finalisation of the registration process; proper capturing of candidates’ photographs showing candidate’s faces without sunglasses or spectacles and both ears,” she said.
“Candidates are urged to ensure that their bio-data are captured correctly, as no amendment of date of birth, re-arrangement/addition or subtraction of names will be entertained after the release of final results and the printing of certificates.
“The council will make test accommodation arrangements for candidates who cannot be assessed by the standard procedures set out because of disability or special educational needs.
“Requests for access arrangements for special needs candidates, with accompanying medical reports, should be forwarded to the council by Tuesday, May 2, 2023,” she said.
Regarding eligibility, she said it was against the rules and regulations of the examination for schools to solicit for students and advertise the examination in any form : in the print, electronic or social media.
Also, she said, it was an offence to register students who had not been enrolled in SHS from their first-year through to the third-year and did not have theregister students who had not been enrolled in SHS from their first-year through to the third-year and did not have the required continuous assessment records.
“The grading for the WASSCE SC is 70 per cent external examination score and 30 per cent continuous assessment score.
Students who, for one reason or another, transferred from one school to another should have evidence of the necessary continuous assessment records,” she said.
Mrs Teye-Cudjoe indicated that it was also an offence to register students who were not in final-year or were not bona fide students of the school in question, adding: “We have received intelligence reports of some students in public schools who move from their schools to private schools to register for the examination because of assurances of obtaining good grades by those schools.”
Again, she said, it was against the rules and regulations to register ‘remedial’ students who had previously written the WASSCE SC and join some public/accredited private schools in form three for examination purposes only, and that such students were being advised to register for the WASSCE for private candidates.
The Head of Public Affairs of WAEC informed the public that the approved WAEC registration fee for entry in seven or eight subjects was GH¢381.24, and that the figure was exclusive of the fees for practical or oral tests, which ranged between GH¢14.50 and GH¢19.50 per practical test.
The public, she said, was to note that sanctions for the registration of non-school/unqualified candidate(s) for school candidates’ examination and the fabrication and/or falsification of continuous assessment scores for the candidates were de-recognition of the affected school for not less than one year, a report made to the Ministry of Education or the appropriate WAEC Board for disciplinary action against the responsible person(s) and withholding of the entire results of the non-school/unqualified candidate, pending the outcome of investigations by the appropriate committee of the council.
She warned schools to desist from commercialising the examinations by advertising and assuring prospective candidates of excellent grades and thereby charging exorbitant fees.
On the BECE for school and private candidates, she said the council would hold briefing sessions for all stakeholders who would be involved in the registration of candidates from March 21 to 24, 2023, and that “the registration portal for the registration of eligible candidates will be opened from Monday, March 27 to Friday, April 28, 2023”.
“As indicated earlier, it is important for all candidates to ensure that their bio-data are captured accurately, and that they are registered for the correct subjects.
School authorities are urged to ensure that they register candidates for the correct Ghanaian Language and Basic Design Technology options.
“As with the WASSCE (SC), access arrangements will be made for candidates with special educational needs,” she said.
Mrs Teye-Cudjoe said the rules and regulations for dealing with cases of irregularity in the council’s examinations for both examinations had been revised, and that they included destruction of exhibits, posting live questions on the Internet, refusal to grant timely access to the school premises and the misconduct of examination officials.
“The revised rules are available on the council’s website and heads of schools are urged to sensitise their candidates to them.
“To ensure that schools and candidates become conversant with the revised rules, the council will be embarking on a nationwide sensitisation exercise to create the needed awareness,” she added.
The Shidaa Foundation donates to Apataim Methodist Basic School in Axim
The Shidaa Foundation, led by Mr. Roland Akwensivie, a Ghanaian entrepreneur and philanthropist based in Canada, along with the talented Afrobeats artist “Cee Levelz” from the Delmi camp, generously donated educational materials to Apateim Methodist Basic School in the Nzema East Municipal, located in the Western region.
On Tuesday, November 7, 2023, the foundation provided a motorized wheelchair and an array of learning materials, including books, writing utensils, erasers, highlighters, files, colored pencils, crayons, calculators, mathematical sets, and school bags.
In an interview with With the media , Mr. Roland Akwensivie explained the rationale behind selecting Apateim as the recipient of this thoughtful donation.
“Apateim was identified as a community in great need of educational support. We considered factors such as economic conditions, limited access to educational resources, and the number of underprivileged children in the area. Apateim stood out as a place where our donations would have a significant impact,” he stated.
Mr. Akwensivie also called upon the general public to lend their support to the Shidaa Foundation.
“The Shidaa Foundation warmly welcomes contributions from individuals and organizations who share our goal of empowering underserved youth and enhancing education. There are various ways to contribute, such as making donations, providing in-kind support, volunteering, establishing partnerships, advocating for our cause, sponsoring initiatives, or engaging with the community,” he emphasized.
The mission of the Shidaa Foundation is to promote education and empower underprivileged youth to achieve their full potential. The foundation is dedicated to offering educational assistance, resources, and opportunities to children in need, ensuring they possess the necessary tools to succeed in their academic pursuits.
The Shidaa Foundation envisions a brighter future, where education is accessible to all and serves as a beacon of hope in marginalized communities. Their ultimate goal is to touch the lives of as many children as possible, igniting their passion for learning and equipping them with the essential means to succeed. The foundation dreams of a world where education acts as a transformative force, breaking down barriers and empowering young individuals to fulfill their aspirations.
Slapping children as punishment can lead to deafness – Audiologist
Certified audiologist and lecturer at the University of Education Winneba (UEW), Cyril Mawuli Honu has cautioned parents and guardians to exercise constraints in how they reprimand their wards
He warned that slapping a child or giving children knocks on their head can easily damage their brain and ears.
“When it comes to babies and children, beating and slapping is what we call trauma. Depending on the severity, trauma could destroy a particular part of the ear. For instance, a slap can get the ear drum perforated, or destroy the arrangements of the three bones in the ear, hence affect hearing” Mawuli Honu stated.
He added that such slaps can cause tinnitus and a disturbance of the vestibular system hence make the victim lose balance.
“There are other ways to punish and child such as; time out, naughty corner, and natural consequence. Beating and hitting do not always correct the child but could even toughing the child’ he admonished.
“I was not deaf at birth but as time went by, my father got into alcoholism and he became wicked. So if I acted wrongly, he would lock up the door, beat me up and slap me mercilessly. It continued for sometime till I woke up one morning with a problem in my ears. My parents took me to the hospital for a check up on my ears but I started having challenges with hearing and eventually I became deaf” Fred Atto recounted his sad experience via his sign language interpreter to Johnnie Hughes on 3FM Sunrise Morning Show.
He entreats parents, guardians, teachers and people to refrain from slapping children as a form of punishment.
“I don’t want any child to go through my experience. It is not good. I think slapping a child as my father did for me to become deaf is not good” he emphasized.
Fred Addo holds an HND in Civil Engineering but is currently working as a cleaner but faces communication challenges and discrimination.
Government unlikely to review Free SHS policy – Kofi Asare
Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, says he doubts government will ever review the Free Senior High School programme.
According to him, the government has given no indication of doing so despite pressure from the International Monetary Fund to review the programme as part of its objectives to strengthen fiscal policy.
In IMF’s May 2023 country report on Ghana, it said the government had promised to “review all government flagship programmes and publish a strategy to decide their future course.”
The Free SHS programme is a key component of government’s flagship programmes and it is estimated to cost some GH¢2.9 billion. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has described the Free SHS as poorly targeted.
The IMF made this observation in its latest country report on Ghana.
Speaking on PM Express, Kofi Asare noted that the government’s recent response to the IMF was clear that the Free SHS policy intentionally lacked target and thus, there was nothing to be reviewed.
“I’m not sure government has resolved to review the Free Senior High School policy. Well, that is not my understanding of what the Minister of Information said this afternoon, and I don’t have any indication that government is going to review it.
“And I’ll be surprised if government reviews it because the communication on government position on the lack of targeting of the Free Senior High School is that government is aware, government is already aware that the Free Senior High School is not targeted so the World Bank said nothing new.
“And that the World Bank by saying that the policy is not targeted does not mean government is saying they’ve targeted it. That’s what Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said clear on JoyFM this afternoon.”
He added that till government categorically mentions that the Free SHS is to be reviewed; discussions on such a possibility are mere speculation.
“So to wit, until we see any formal communication from government indicating that it intends to review the Free Senior High School Programme, I think we will just be doing speculative exercise as we’ve been doing all this while.”
Meanwhile, the IMF has disclosed that Ghana spends close to 4% of its GDP on education with good results in terms of enrollment but poor learning outcomes.
Key identified areas by the IMF which need potential improvement in education spending include strengthening primary education resources, better teacher training, and stronger performance-based funding practices.