‘Autocratic’ WAEC Clears Itself, No Probe

…Says Council uses one marking scheme for all BECE candidates 

Even before any independent probe could be conducted into accusations that the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) is fond of marking down Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) candidates from private schools, the Council has organized a forum to clear itself.

According to WAEC, it uses one marking scheme in assessing all Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) across the country.

“The Council has never used two different marking schemes for candidates of BECE in private and public schools.”  Mrs. Wendy E. Addy-Lamptey, Head of National Office, WAEC, said this at the council’s forum on BECE Grading System in Accra.

The latest response from the West African Examinations body appears to have made nonsense of many calls from stakeholders across the education sector.

President of Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNACOP), Enoch Gyetuah, in an earlier interview on Accra-based Citi FM interview, revealed that the discrimination has resulted in the challenges many parents whose wards registered for the BECE with private schools are facing.

“Most of the private school students have been marked down, and we are calling for re-marking and even calling for an independent body to go into that. [There’s even discrimination in the aspect of placement]. The government has reserved 30% allocation to people in the public schools which means that if we write the same exam, and I am coming from a public school, I will be placed before someone from a private school irrespective of the grades we have,” he said.

But Mrs. Addy-Lamptey insists, the council has on no occasion used two different marking schemes for private and public school candidates.

“Let me use this opportunity to state that a final marking scheme is developed for each subject at the end of the Preliminary Coordinating meeting and all examiners use this final marking scheme to mark scripts of all candidates for that subject,” she explained.

According to her, the issue of the performance of BECE candidates had been topical over the years.  “This is even more so because that is used in the selection of students into Senior High Schools,” she added.

The forum, which was on the theme: “The fundamentals of the BECE Grading System,” brought together representatives from the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Private Schools, National Council of Private Schools, Ghana Education Service and Ministry of Education, among others.

The BECE was first administered in the 1990s as a result of the 1987 Educational Reforms.

The reforms came with the introduction of Continuous Assessment Scores as a component of the total score to be used for grading.

The Standard Nine (Stanine) Grading System was adopted for the examination.

The forum, therefore, seeks to bring clarity to the BECE grading system and help stakeholders to appreciate the performance of candidates better.

Mr.Pateh Bah, Registrar of WAEC, in a speech read on his behalf, said the council used equal marking schemes for private and public schools, adding, “The schemes used by the council were impartial. There is only one marking scheme for all, our scheme does not favour anyone.”

Mr. Bah, therefore, urged the media to do their fact checks before publication.

Dr.Kafui Etsey, Associate Professor at the University of Cape Coast, who chaired the forum, said research had shown that if Ghana changed from the BECE marking system, the council would rather record more failures and a reduction in the number of brilliant students.

Prof. Etsey said Ghana could adopt its own system of assessing the youth and other countries could also learn from it.

He, therefore, stressed the need for the Ghana Education Service, the Ministry of Education and the Council to meet and make some amendments to the grading system to suit Ghana.

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