More than 375,000 candidates across the country will begin the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) today Monday, July 20, 2020. These students are the first batch of the free SHS beneficiaries to sit for the WASSCE.
Prior to the commencement of examination, President Nana Akufo Addo, in a statement, extended his best wishes and Godspeed in their exams as he directed the students to abide by the enhanced hygiene, mask wearing and social distancing protocols.
“Every Ghanaian acknowledges that Education is the key to the future of our country. We, therefore, must do everything possible, even in the midst of a pandemic, to guarantee the prospects of our youth, protect their potential, and, thereby, help preserve our collective future.” part of the statement reads
In accordance with the timetable submitted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to the Ministry of Education earlier this month, Project Work for Visual Arts candidates will kick start the entire process, while the theory papers will start from August 3, 2020 until September 5, 2020. The five-week long examination will be brought to an end with Principles of Cost Accounting and Technical Drawing.
Government however has absorbed the full examination fees of all students sitting for the examination at an estimated cost of GHS 75.4 million.
The Ashanti and the Eastern regions top with 87,295 and 56,467 candidates, respectively, while the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions combined follow with 45,295 candidates, with the Central and the Greater Accra regions presenting 42,956 and 37,974 candidates, respectively.
The Oti and Volta regions together are presenting 34,466 candidates, with the Northern, Savanna and North East also presenting 248,330, while the Western and Western North regions present 24,332 candidates.
The Upper East and Upper West regions follow with 13,334 and 8,798, respectively.
The examination begins with the Visual Arts project, which will be done by 65,380 candidates in eight different areas.
A total of 750 candidates will do Basketry; 6,620 will do Ceramics, while 22,929 will do Graphic Design.
Some 29,983 candidates will do the practical work in Jewellery, while 9,826 will go in for Leatherworks, with 7,986, 7,484 and 6,805 candidates engaging in Picture Making, Sculpture and Textiles, respectively.
Review 2020 WASSCE timetable – Africa Education Watch to WAEC
Africa Education Watch has called on the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to review the timetable for the 2020 West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
The organization requests WAEC to change the timetable for two elective papers of business students -Financial Accounting and Principles of Cost Accounting.
These two electives are to be taken on Saturday, 5th September,2020 with an hour break interval.
The first paper, financial accounting will begin 8:30 and end 12:00GMT; while Principles of Cost Accounting starts from 13:30 to 16:30GMT.
The duration of each paper is three hours with a one hour break to prepare for the next paper.
In a press release signed on Sunday July 19, 2020 by Kofi Asare, the executive director of African Education Watch, the organization indicated that the rules of examination expect students to be seated 30 minutes before exams commences; this does not give students enough time to prepare for the next paper.
Also the practice which has lasted for several years is against the International Standards of Assessment at the Secondary level.
Africa Education Watch however called for WAEC to reschedule the papers to either Sunday September 6 or Monday September 7, 2020.
Cases of COVID-19 in SHS
Few weeks following the partial resumption of teaching and learning activities in senior high schools in the country, Accra girls SHS confirmed some cases of the novel Coronavirus among its students. Data available as at July 13, 2020 indicated that 55 persons in the school were infected comprising of students and staffs at the school.
Senior high schools with confirmed cases of the virus include: the Konongo Wesley SHS, Mpraeso SHS, Archbishop Porter Girls SHS, Nsei SHS in Axim, Diabene SHS and Adiembra SHS among others.
Calls for closure of Schools
In a joint statement, the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union (TEWU) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana (CCT-GH) have called on government to shut down schools as COVID-19 cases spark on campuses.
“We the Pre-tertiary Teacher Unions-GNAT NAGRAT TEWU, CCT-GH have no option than to ask that the schools be closed down. For how long can we stand and look, while our children are consigned to imminent death. We cannot stand any unwarranted catastrophe. Our children are our future, and we must protect them,” the statement said.
However the Deputy Health Minister, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, indicated in a media engagement that government will close down schools if recorded cases of COVID-19 in the education institutions surpasses a threshold of 15 percent.
Meanwhile Psychologist, Dr. Charles Wiafe-Akenten has agreed to the claims of heightened stress and fear as students prepare for their final exams, especially with the recent increase in COVID-19 cases recorded in schools.
Speaking exclusively to Universnews, Dr. Charles Wiafe-Akenten advised school counsellors to engage students through counselling sessions to mentally prepare them for their final exam.
He entreated teachers in basic schools who do not have access to professional psychologists to incorporate group counselling sessions into teaching schedules.