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General News of Monday, 7 April 2003

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BECE Commences Today

This year's Basic Education Certificate Examination, BECE, starts this morning with a total of 268,284 candidates from 7,105 schools sitting in eight or nine subjects throughout the country.

As the candidates write their maiden major exams in their school life, stakeholders and parents are holding their breaths and praying that what befell last year's candidates is not repeated in the course of the five-day exercise.

It would be recalled that last year the whole BECE was cancelled because of a reported leakage of exam papers which damaged the integrity of the exercise. The candidates had to re-take fresh papers as a result of the cancellation.

The performance in this exam would determine which senior secondary school candidates get admitted into.

In a related development Mr Alex Amponfi-Duku, Headmaster of Enyan Denkyira Secondary Technical School, has appealed to all stakeholders in education to ensure good conduct of the examination.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Cape Coast on Thursday, Mr Amponfi-Duku said the BECE is a national exercise which must be devoid of any acts that would tarnish the image of Ghana's educational system.

He said the leakage in the 2002 BECE, which resulted in re-sitting, has not entirely faded out of the memories of Ghanaians.

The headmaster said the trauma suffered by parents, pupils and the general public should be a thing of the past.

Mr Amponfi-Duku said the successful organisation of this year's BECE examination would go a long way to enhance the hard won reputation of WAEC and also save the Council and the nation from the previous year's experience.

He, therefore, urged the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to put in adequate security measures to offset any improprieties.

The Ghana Education Service in collaboration with the West African Examination Council have in a bid to ensure the integrity of the exercise set up monitoring units throughout the country and beefed up security at the centres to make it impossible for candidates to cheat.

These arrangements were disclosed to the in-coming Minister of Education, Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu and the out-going Minister for the sector, Mr. Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi by the Director of the Basic Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service, Mr. Emmanuel Acquaye during a tour of selected schools in the Accra metropolis earmarked as examination centers.

During the visit both ministers interacted with the candidates, headteachers and supervisors of the Kanda Cluster of Schools and the La Wireless Cluster of Schools which are presenting more than 400 candidates for the examination.

The ministers advised the candidates to report anybody who attempts selling question papers to either their teachers or the Police. The teachers on their part have promised to report any leakage to the appropriate authorities.

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