The Ghana Education Service (GES) Tuesday, restated its resolve to go ahead with this year’s West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) and the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
The Service also said adequate safety measures were in place in all schools to contain the spread of COVID-19 and that there was no reason to recall students.
Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, the Director-General of the GES said this when he addressed journalists at the bi-weekly media briefing organised by the Information Ministry in Accra.
He said based on “experts’ advice”, and measures instituted to contain the spread of the virus in schools, the Service would organise the examinations as planned.
The Director-General said if a candidate could not write the examinations due to COVID-19, arrangements would be made for the affected student to write the nearest examination in future with Government taking up the cost.
He said if a candidate, for instance, wrote the first paper and due to health reasons could not take the second paper, the Service would apply the Clemency Rule, where marks would be awarded to the candidate based on the performance in the first paper and other factors.
“So we looked at our situation and based on advice from health experts, we’ll go ahead with the examinations- Liberia, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone are writing the examinations. Nigeria is not writing because it has her issues, “Prof.Opoku-Amankwa explained.
He noted that health experts had projected that COVID-19 would be around for some time, therefore life must go on for the betterment of the students and the nation at large.
Prof. Opoku-Amankwa said about 300 national, regional and district monitoring teams had been set up to monitor the compliance of the safety and hygiene protocols in schools, and also address challenges that may come up.
The Director-General indicated that a master training programme was provided to members of the monitoring teams, teachers, headteachers, and students on “dos and don’ts” of COVID-19 on campus, to enhance compliance.
He said necessary arrangements had also been put in place at the school settings to manage infections and link up with district and municipal health system for isolation and treatment of students and staff.
Prof. Opoku-Amankwa said in case of emergencies, the Service would quickly inform parents and guardians of situations and explain actions taken by the health and school authorities to treat any infected student to minimize anxiety.
The Director-General said before the final year students went to school, government disinfected schools and distributed hand washing stations with tissue papers, sanitizers and thermometer guns to public and private schools to help in observing the safety protocols.
He said Government also organised stakeholder engagements with key stakeholders including Parents/Teacher Associations, Teacher Unions, and Education Directors to solicit their concerns, which were factored into the implementation of the safety directives.
Prof. Opoku-Amankwa said the schools were opened purposely for the final year students to write their exit examinations and not for any political suitability.
Meanwhile, Ghana has recorded 264 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total tally to 25,252 after conducting 334,101 tests.
There are 21,391 recoveries and discharges and 3,716 active cases, with the death toll at 139.
Due to the confirmation of some cases of COVID-19 in schools, a few civil society organizations and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have called for the closure of schools and cancellation of this year’s WASSCE and BECE.