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Opinions of Saturday, 14 October 2017

Columnist: Daily Guide

A slipping opportunity

The 59 pupils couldn't benefit from the Free SHS policy because their results have been withheld. The 59 pupils couldn't benefit from the Free SHS policy because their results have been withheld.

The chance of fifty nine pupils of the Nima Basic I School in Accra making it to the Senior High School is under threat.

The withholding of their Mathematics paper in the last Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) is endangering their future.

As carried elsewhere in this edition, some parents are on the verge of giving up any hope of the kids continuing at the SHS level – the JHS just enough for them in their warped estimation.

Roaming aimlessly in the streets and alleys of the sprawling suburb, the innocent children continue to wait for the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to release the results which they appear to be withholding indefinitely.

While we salute the efforts of WAEC in maintaining the highest standards in their examinations, it is regrettable that the kids under review are suffering somewhat unduly because their results are being scrutinized indefinitely even as admissions into SHS's are almost over.

An examination body such as WAEC does not exist to punish candidates but to ensure that the integrity of the examinations they conduct meet international best practices. If for any reason therefore there is suspicion about the integrity of a particular paper, we expect that action in ascertaining the quality of the test would be conducted expeditiously.

The undue delay in releasing the results can only cause unnecessary challenges for both parents and the kids, the latter particularly suffering the most. While some of them might eventually end up not continuing to the SHS, others could be traumatized in a manner that can affect their future progress on the academic ladder. That is the source of our worry.

With government's intention of enhancing the quality of education and making it accessible to all regardless of their background now common knowledge, it would be ironic that so many kids stand at the crossroads not knowing their fate.

When President Akufo-Addo and the Education Minister including civil servants who put their hearts in the implementation of the flagship free SHS hear about this flimsy yet critical development in Nima, they would definitely be embarrassed and regret it.

We are even more concerned that even after the firing of a correspondence to the appropriate education authorities who should have by now linked up with WAEC so the examination body can expedite action on the withheld results, nothing has emanated from both ends yet.

We are constrained to wonder whether some officials in the education chain are committed to their assignments. We are discussing kids who completed their maiden public examination and are being put to such stress; a situation which can impact their academic pursuits negatively.

We hereby call on the relevant authorities to intervene in this matter. This is disgusting and reprehensible. We shall follow this subject until the children have their results released so they can access the free SHS. We shall return.

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