Ministry of Education outlines measures to improve BECE performance

Education Minister

The Minister of Education, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, has set up a Task Force headed by Mr Mahama Ayariga, her Deputy, to implement a number of measures expected to result in improved performance in the 2012 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).

As part of this exercise, Mr Ayariga would from December 8-18, tour the Northern, Upper East and West Regions to mobilise social and political support for the initiative to improve performance in the BECE.

The three Regions and northern parts of Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions in particular recorded generally unimpressive performance in the BECE hence the focus on these areas even though the exercise would be nationwide, according to a statement signed in Accra on Wednesday by Mr Ayariga.

The statement said during the tour, Mr Ayariga would hold durbars with prospective BECE candidates for 2012, their teachers, GES District and Regional Directors, chiefs, religious leaders, opinion leaders and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, their Education Oversight Committees to outline the measures to be implemented and solicit their inputs and support.

It outlined 10 measures to be implemented to enhance the BECE performance and these include assessment of teacher needs in various districts categorised by subject areas and placing emphasis on the core subjects.

The statement noted that an analysis of the results revealed that most of the districts performed badly in certain core subject, thus areas accounting for the children not being able to obtain admission into Senior High Schools (SHS) because obtaining a grade five or better in those subjects is a prerequisite.

“Some districts revealed that they did not have both teachers and teaching and learning materials in these core subjects.”

The statement directed that all District and Municipal Directors were to carry out a school by school assessment of the teacher capacity and reveal existing gaps for the JHS three classes so that the teacher mobilisation exercise was adequately targeted at filling those gaps.

“National Service Personnel will be re-posted to schools in need and 5,000 volunteer teachers will be recruited and postings will target schools most in need.”

Another measure is mobilisation, posting and re-posting of teachers and emergency and volunteer teachers to the districts with the support of the National Service Secretariat (NSS) and the District, Municipal, Metropolitan Assemblies in collaboration with the Regional Coordinating Councils.

The statement directed that District Directors in collaboration with Regional Directors shall present proposals for re-posting of teachers from overstaffed schools to schools with serious teacher deficit to handle their JHS three candidates.

“This arrangement could be temporary and can be terminated in May, 2012 after the examination. There will be collaboration with the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) to minimise dissent.

“The National Service Secretariat (NSS), in collaboration with GES, shall recruit 5,000 teacher volunteers to support schools without teachers in relevant subject areas.”

The Ministry would in addition, organise a Teaching Orientation Programme for the 5,000 Volunteer Teachers and the 36,000 National Service Personnel posted to the Education Sector for 2011/2012.

The statement noted that with support from Volunteer Service Organisation (VSO), a teaching and pedagogical methods manual had been developed for all service personnel and volunteer teachers.

The National Service Personnel and volunteer teachers would be taken through orientation on teaching methods in all districts.

The Ministry also identified the need for extra tuition hours (2:2:6 formation) and holidays tuition as a means of enhancing performance.

It said with support from parents, MOE, GETFund and Assemblies, the Ministry would implement “a rigorous extra hours’ tuition programme” of two hours after close of normal schooling hours.

“Students will be required to study for two hours in the morning before normal classes and six hours every Saturday. On Saturday, the first two hours shall be dedicated to revision and four hours for actual teaching. This will be known as the 2:2:6 formations.”

The authorities will design a national extra tuition programme for JHS three students during the Christmas holidays of December, 2011 at designated school clusters centres in all districts and assign dedicated and competent teachers, volunteers and have a well coordinated timetable for them with clear targets to be accomplished within the Christmas Holidays period.

The statement said there would be “Lunch a Day” for JHS three BECE candidates and their teachers.

It stated that lunch would be provided to the JHS three candidates every day that they spent an additional two hours for extra tuition after normal school hours from 4pm to 6pm and every Saturday when there was a weekend tuition programme for the JHS three candidates.

The Ministry stated that agreement had been reached with the World Food Programme for provisions for JHS three candidates in the three Northern Regions but discussions were still on-going for candidates in the other Regions.

It stated that Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, had agreed to direct District, Metropolitan Assemblies to improve infrastructure (electricity, security, access roads and water ) at designated holidays tuition cluster centres.

These cluster centres can also serve as venues for JHS candidates who wished to study at night to have an opportunity to do so.

Another measure to be implemented by the Ministry is that Headmasters, under the supervision of District Directors, shall review individual schools’ programmes to facilitate the optimum utilisation of normal schooling hours to cover syllabi for JHS three BECE candidates and secure the cooperation of the candidates to meeting targets set by head teachers.

“Candidates shall be exempted from all extra curricula activities such as sports and cultural events that may take away valuable time from their study time.”

There will also be the conduct of series of mock examinations in all the assisted districts to adequately prepare the students before the main examinations.

Under this, the Ministry is to develop an assessment test at the beginning of the exercise to determine present levels of candidates and to implement two mock BECEs in late February and mid-April to assess preparedness of candidates.

The Ministry would mobilise on an emergency basis teaching and learning materials to assist this exercise under which it would determine the teaching and learning materials needed to aid this emergency examination preparation programme and to mobilise and procure and distribute teaching and learning materials to targeted districts.

It said there would also be a National Social and Political Mobilisation Exercise to Support Implementation of these Emergency Measures.

“We will carry out an extensive social mobilisation effort to secure buy-in of various stakeholders including traditional rulers, parents, community leaders, local government authorities, teachers, civil society groups and students themselves to achieve the implementation of the measures outlined above,” according to the statement.

The Ministry added that it would exploit the use of ICT and mobile telephony to implement these measures.

Under this measure, the Ministry said it would consult with UN Children’s Fund, Japan International Cooperation Agency (UNICEF/JICA) and ICT and Telecommunications companies to explore the opportunities that existed to use ICT and mobile telephony to implement the measure.

Source: GNA

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