Accra, March30, GNA - Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Deputy Minister of Education, has expressed satisfaction at the arrangements and preparations made for the 2015 West African Senior School Certificate Exams (WASSCE), which began on Monday.
The Minister said he was impressed with the organization so far: “it’s been exceedingly properly organized, the discipline has been evident, and invigilation has been excellent”.
According to WAEC officials, the students have behaved well. "There have been no attempts at exam malpractices. We are impressed with the general conduct of the examinations.”
The Deputy Minister made the statements when he toured some Senior High Schools in Accra to monitor the progress of the exams. The schools include Labone, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Armed Forces SHS, PRESEC and Achimota.
Mr Ablakwa said government was very keen on ensuring that all schools were heeding government’s policy directive to allow all students to write the exams, irrespective of whether or not they had paid their fees fully, adding that, so far all students had been allowed to write their papers.
He cautioned, however, that parents should not take advantage of the directive to shirk their responsibilities by not paying their wards’ fees, as was happening.
“In some schools, the rates of default were too high. For instance at Aquinas, we were told that only 10 per cent had paid their fees fully,” he said, adding that, although they would be allowed to write the papers, the results would be withheld if they failed to pay their fees.
At the Presbyterian Boys Senior High School (PRESEC) Legon, 833 students were registered for the exams, however 831 were writing the papers with one absentee while another student had passed on.
The Headmistress Lady Queen Asiedu Akrofi said the first day of the exams had been very smooth with no incidents recorded.
At Achimota SHS, which was the last school the Deputy Minister visited, 806 students were registered for the exams with two special case students who needed special attention.
One of these students had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) while another had suffered a mild stroke. The headmistress, Mrs. Beatrice Tsotso Adom therefore had to write to the ministry and other stakeholder agencies, who had agreed to allocate the two STUDENTS extra time for their papers.
Asked whether there was a policy in place to cater for students with such special cases, Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa said “there is a policy on students with special needs which also covered those who are ill”.
“There is a policy on special needs student, which is why in Achimota, the two students have been given one and half hours extra time. The policy even extends to students who are sick. If you report ill, you’ll be escorted to a hospital and if the doctor advises that your condition is such that you can still write while on admission, you are allowed to do so.
We have invigilators on standby who will supervise the process and extra time is allocated. For those who are not able to write, arrangements are made to register them for the following year’s examinations or they can take advantage of the private candidate exams” he explained.
On the effects of the current power crisis on the students’ preparations, Mr. Ablakwa said so far, discussions with the heads of institutions indicated that, the power crisis had not been a major challenge, as the situation had not been as serious in the school and they had also put measures in place to mitigate its effects such as studying during the day.
“ECG has also been lenient with some of the schools such as the Labone secondary school, who are not experiencing it at all” he stated, adding that, they had also held a stakeholders meeting and were working out some modalities to mitigate the effects of the crisis.
He noted that Ghana had become a flagship for the WASSCE, having won the top three slots for five consecutive years and the WAEC council meeting had advised other member countries to learn from Ghana’s educational system.
“We have a reputation to protect and we are making sure to provide the needed incentives and support to ensure we a smooth exams and a positive outcome”.
Students on Monday began the examinations nationwide with the integrated science paper, a core course. Integrated science 1&2 was written in the morning and the third part in the afternoon. A total of 268,771 final year students are expected to write the WASSCE; made up of 139,843 males and 128,162 females.