Over 500,000 students nationwide are scheduled to take the 2018 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) Monday. The exam measures the aptitude of students from public and private schools in subjects including English, Mathematics and Science.
But a group of education experts claim the BECE testing structure is broken. Certified Cambridge A-level English teacher Emmanuel Afful says that students who fail are left scarred for the remainder of their school years.
“BECE is useless,” Afful told Daniel Dadzie on JOY FM’s Super Morning Show. “What it tells children is that what they did in the first term doesn’t matter. [BECE] finalizes a child’s capability in one day.”
Afful says if organizers are willing to restructure the exam’s protocols, there’s a glimmer of hope it can become a laudable programme. As of now, though, “the implementation is poor,” he said.
Author and educationist Anis Haffar agrees. He told Dadzie that innately, some extremely smart students are not adept to perform well in standardized exams.
“Research shows that a growing number of young people prefer working with their hands,” he said. “We are victimizing a huge portion of the country by blaming young people for failing,” adding that “we don’t have equal opportunities for students. I don’t see how we can test every student the same way.”
Another problem? Teachers, according to Anis.
“We have to understand what our weaknesses are,” said Anis. “We need teachers that are prepared properly. In this country, we prepare teachers in lecture halls instead of school sites where the students are.”
Teachers should be held accountable, a JOY FM listener commented.
“I think we need to have teacher evaluations in our schools where students are given the chance to communicate the performance of their teachers to the authorities,” the listener wrote on Joy FM’s WhatsApp platform.
One student gearing up for the BECE said she is hopeful she will pass.
“I am prepared for the exam,” she said. “Last night when I was reading my books I felt ready.”
Animwaa Anim-Addo says for those who aren’t as confident and fail, their “critical thinking is tarnished. Their thought process is broken.”
When asked if parents should give up on local schools and educate them internationally, she replied. “That is exactly what I will do.”
Students who pass the BECE become eligible to pursue a free Senior High School education.