A concerned parent and teacher at the St Paul’s Lutheran School has expressed worry at the number of days students in the Junior High School level have to write the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). Students in the country’s Junior High Schools have five working days to write their papers; nine in all, but Mrs Christine Ablakwa says this puts a toll on the students, thereby putting a lot of stress on their brains and bodies. Speaking in an interview with Emefa Apawu, host of the big bite on Xfm 95.1, a privately owned commercial radio station in Accra, Mrs Ablakwa rather opined that the exam period for the JHS student should be spread throughout a two-week period. This she strongly believes would help to improve the standard of BECE and also reduce the zero percent some schools record. “When you take a look at Senior High Students, those who are even older than the JHS students, they write eight subjects in about a month. In the universities, there are students who are about thirty years, and they also take about a month to write their exams.” “My worry is that, why will these students who are between 12 and 14 years use just five days to write nine subjects? I think it is too much for them and too stressful.” Besides, Mrs Ablakwa says having a day or two intervals in between the exam period will afford the students the opportunity to rest or have enough time to study for the next day’s paper. “Sometimes, they finish writing the exams at about 3:30pm, leaving very little time for them to rest and study for the next day’s two subjects. That is how come the students are not performing well in the exams. I think many people have not taken notice of this and at the end of the day, they blame the teachers”. Mrs Ablakwa who spoke with so much passion is therefore calling on the West Africa Examination Council to consider extending the number of days for the B.E.C.E as a means of improving the performance standards of the students. She asks, “when WAEC comes out with the statistics, do we get about 60 students passing all the subjects? That is the problem. They should sit down and find out why these students are not passing well. Even if SHS students who have about a month to write their exams do not even pass as they are expected to, how much JHS students?” She also expressed concern at the number of syllabi that the students study, saying it makes some of the students “too tired”. “The syllabi are too much for the children. You go to the class and it is like they would have wished you don’t ever come. They are so tired”.
Source: Abena Asiedua Tenkorang/Xfm 95.1/Accra/Ghana