The Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, might soon face Parliament’s Education Committee following the refusal of the West African Examination Council (WAEC), to organize a special exams for some 200 students at Bunkpurugu in the Northern Region who could not write two papers in the just ended exams.
The over two hundred students were unable to write this year’s English and RME papers due to a change in examination centre through no fault of theirs.
WAEC subsequently indicated that, the students will only be made to re-write the papers in February 2018.
But speaking to Citi News, the Minority Spokesperson on Education, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, said Parliament must compel the Ministry of Educaiton and WAEC to allow the students to write the papers this year.
“It was our expectation that the children will be given the opportunity to rewrite the two papers because whenever a paper is cancelled, WAEC quickly reorganizes itself and set new questions for the candidates. So we expected that having missed those two papers, WAEC should be able to organize the two for them just after the entire examination was over, but the Ministry of Education is not ready to do so. WAEC organizes the examination on behalf of the ministry of Education so it is the responsibility of the ministry to tell WAEC to organize the examination. The ministry is adamant; the minister seems not to worry about the plight of these children.”
He noted that, the committee will sit on Thursday to deliberate on the matter and will subsequently invite and question Mr. Opoku Prempeh on the matter.
“We are expecting the minister before our committee to brief us on what is preventing the ministry from ordering WAEC to conduct the examination for the children so that they could also join their colleagues in September to enter senior high school. During our meeting we will discuss issues concerning the BECE and that of the University of Education, so when we meet, we will send formally invite him to appear before the committee,” he added.
Meanwhile, the two largest teacher unions in Ghana, the Ghana National Association Teachers, GNAT, and the National Association of Graduate Teachers, NAGRAT, have lashed out at the two bodies for not showing enough interest in the matter.
GES must organize special exams if WAEC won’t
The General Secretary of GNAT, David Ofori Acheampong, insisted that the Ghana Education Service must force WAEC to organize the exams for the stranded candidates.
“So if you have realized that 200 students could not write the examination, what stops you from reorganizing another examination for them? They should organize supplementary exams for them immediately. That will show whether WAEC is versatile or not. WAEC conducts the examination on behalf of the Ghana government.”
He also asked GES to organize the examination for the candidates if WAEC proves difficult.
“The Ministry and Ghana Education Service should be firm. If it becomes the situation that WAEC is failing to conduct that examination the Ghana Education Service should ask its testing unit to organize some questions for the kids, let them write and be marked to enable the kids go to the secondary school,” Acheampong added.
GES must act fast
The Vice President of NAGRAT, Angel Carbonu, also charged GES to act fast to salvage the situation.
“It’s a matter that we don’t even need to be talking about that now. I believe that at the time that it occurred, they should have been proactive enough to have acted. You see, these are students that if they don’t write these two exams cannot proceed anywhere else. I understand that English language is part of it and English language is one of the qualifying subjects that will lead you to SHS and if it was not any fault of theirs that they could not write the examination, then the onus is on the GES to act immediately to salvage the situation,” Carbonu added.
Organise special BECE exams or face us in court
In a related development, an advocacy group, Child Rights International, has petitioned WAEC to organize a special exams for the stranded candidates immediately or face them in court.
“Please take notice that unless our clients receive a favourable response from you in this matter on or before the 5th day of July, 2017, we shall be obliged to commence legal proceedings against you for adequate remedy,” the group added in the petition.