The Ghana Education Service (GES) has revised the date for the writing of this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) for School Candidates.
It says the examination would be written from June 10 to 14, 2019 instead of the previously announced date of June 3 to 7.
This was contained in a letter signed by the Director General of the GES, Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, and copied to the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh and other personalities, including district and regional directors of education.
“Management of the GES wishes to inform you that the revised date for the BECE for School Candidates is 10th to 14th June, 2019. The revised date supercedes the 3rd to 7th June, 2019 stated on the 2018/2019 academic year school terms and holidays for basic schools,” the letter addressed to all metro, municipal and district directors of education said.
It stated further that “You are by this letter directed to communicate this information to all heads of basic schools and prepare the students for the examination accordingly”.
The BECE is used by the GES to select qualified candidates for senior high schools (SHSs) and Technical Institutes (TIs) across the country.
In a related development, this year's BECE for Private Candidates would be written from Monday, February 11 to Friday, February 15.
The examination would be written by 2,505 candidates, comprising 1,553 males and 952 females.
The Greater Accra Region is presenting the highest number of candidates of 689, 416 males and 273 females.
The Eastern Region follows with 394 candidates, 263 males and 131 females while 301 candidates registered for the Ashanti Region (182 males and 119 females). The Central Region has 269 candidates, 177 males and 92 females; Upper West Region, 204 candidates, 100 males and 104 females; Western Region, 180 males, 83 females and the Volta Region, 151 candidates made up of 97 males and 54 females.
The rest are the Upper East Region, 114 candidates; 68 males and 46 females; Brong Ahafo Region, 73 candidates, 36 males and 37 females, as well as the Northern Region, 47 candidates, 34 males and 13 females.
The Private BECE began in 2015 to give candidates who did not perform well in the school edition of the exam to improve on their performance. It also provides an opportunity for those who have never written the examination to do so.
In 2015, 1,181 candidates sat for the maiden examination while 1,418 candidates wrote in 2016, with 1,379 writing in 2017.
Source : www.graphic.com.gh
Meanwhile, it said it had started clearing arrears owed teachers that had accrued from 2013 to 2016, with respect to travel, transfer grants and overtime.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who announced this in Accra yesterday, commended teacher unions, including the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), for their collaboration in the exercise to clear the arrears which, he said, was scheduled to end by the close of March.
He said the government was also putting in place measures to ensure that such arrears did not accrue again.
“Government has already begun to improve upon the circumstances of teachers in the country and, therefore, it will no longer accrue arrears,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo made the announcement when he inaugurated the refurbished hall and hostel of GNAT at its headquarters in Accra.
The conference hall, which currently has a seating capacity of 1,100 from the initial 400, was refurbished at the cost of GH¢7 million.
The President congratulated the GNAT president, Mrs Philippa Larsen, on her election to the position and for the decision to refurbish the GNAT Hall, saying the facility was currently one of the best conferencing facilities in the country.
On reforms to improve the welfare of teachers, President Akufo-Addo further announced that the “government was working with other key stakeholders to develop a comprehensive teacher policy based on UNESCO benchmarks to enhance the lot of our teachers.”
The nine components of this policy, the President outlined, were teacher recruitment and retention, teacher education, deployment, career structure and path, teacher employment and working conditions, teacher reward and remuneration, teacher standards, teacher accountability and school governance.
“Government is also pursuing several reforms, including pre-tertiary curricular reforms, teacher education curricular reforms at the pre-tertiary and tertiary levels and mainstreaming technical and vocational training and teacher education,” he said.
The President explained that the reforms formed part of the government’s vision to transform the country’s education delivery system to meet the needs of the 21st century and produce a skilled and confident workforce to drive the nation’s agenda for industrialisation and modernisation.
He, therefore, appealed to the GNAT, as well as other teacher unions, to give their full backing to the “comprehensive programme.”
President Akufo-Addo said all modern successful nations that had experienced extraordinary results in the formation of human capital and economic development had shown that teacher quality was, perhaps, the single most important determinant of their success.
To that end, he said Ghana also needed a crop of well-trained and well-motivated teachers who could help deliver the educated and skilled workforce the country required to transform its economy in order to succeed.
President Akufo-Addo paid tribute to the late Thomas Ango Bediako after whom the hall was named, describing him as a remarkable patriot and selfless Ghanaian.
He said GNAT was what it was today because of the work of its pioneers, including the late Bediako, who he said was well deserving of the honour being done in his memory.
He gave an assurance that the work done by Mr Bediako and many who came after him, would not be in vain under his administration.
For her part, Mrs Larsen encouraged the President to help ensure the smooth clearing of the arrears, pledging the cooperation of GNAT in the process.
She also paid glowing tribute to Mr Bediako, who together with Mr Mike Senoo, mobilised teachers across the country to join the association when it opted out of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) in 1962.
A copy of the biography of the late Bediako was presented to President Akufo-Addo
Mr Anthony Maxwell Amoako, the new District Director of Education for Amansie West, has warned that he would sanction basic school heads who condoned lateness and absenteeism by their staff.
The move would help bring sanity into education in the District, which he said was seeing a decline, because of illegal mining activities (galamsey), which was a major cause of truancy and increase in school drop-outs.
Mr Amoako was outlining his vision to basic heads, teaching /non teaching staff and education stakeholders at a maiden meeting after he took over from Mr. Samuel Kena, who retired last month
The new director was the former senior housemaster for Konongo-Odumase Senior High School in the Asante-Akim Central Municipality.
He said teachers would be able to whip up the dwindling interest of children in education and attract them to school if they (teachers) showed seriousness in their work by being punctual and regular at school.
“You as teachers should be examples and role models in the communities in all spheres of life to earn the respect you deserve,” he added
Mr Amoako said his administration would not countenance indiscipline, absenteeism and other negative acts that could adversely affect teaching and learning in the district, and asked those who had the habit to change for the better.
He promised to liaise with the District Assembly to provide furniture and other logistics to aid them in their work.
Experts in education have called for an increase in the use of teaching and learning methods that are practical and centred on the learner in schools in Ghana.
According to them, the performance of students or pupils could improve significantly if teachers engaged them in learning activities that promoted interests and understanding in the subjects being taught.
Such learning activities, known as Active Learning methods, include role play, group work, creative writing, storytelling, simulation, experimentation and demonstration.
They made the call at a ceremony in Tamale organised to showcase the successes of the Basic Education Quality Improvement Programme (BEQUIP), a project under which a number of teachers, college tutors and other education officers were trained to improve their use of Active Learning methods.
Two international development organisations, IBIS and EDUKANS, and the University of Amsterdam collaborated with the Ghana Education Service (GES) and selected teacher training colleges to implement the project in parts of the Northern, Upper East and the Volta regions.
Mr Tirso Dos Santos, UNESCO's Head of Office and Representative to Ghana, Mr Ahmed Hamza Tijani, IBIS' Ghana Country Director, Mr Gershon Dorfe, Acting Deputy Director of the Teacher Education Division of the GES and Upper East Regional Director of Education were among the key speakers.
Mr Tijani said the BEQUIP project focused on increasing the use of Active Learning methods in schools in order to enhance students’ learning outcomes saying, "This is simply because research has proven that children learn better when they are engaged in practice, rather than just theory".
Mr Tijani underscored the need to replicate or upscale such interventions in Ghana, adding that "we are open to partner with other organisations on these interventions and we are positive that such partnerships would begin from here."
Mr Gerson Dorfe, announced that the Ghana Education Service (GES) would soon register and license teachers in the country, under a new policy known as Pre-tertiary Teacher Professional Development and Management (PTPDM) programme.
He said the new policy had a new career progression path starting from a Beginning Teacher to Licence Teacher down to Senior Director, which would eventually replace the existing ranking system in the Education Service.
He said the new policy is being piloted in three districts, namely, Shai Osudoku in the Grater Accra Region, Upper Manya in the Eastern Region and Ajumako Essiam Enyan District in the Central Region.
The principals of the Bagabaga College of Education in Tamale, St. John Bosco’s College of Education in Navrongo and Dambai College of Education in the Volta Region who were present, had said teacher trainees were trained on Active Learning methods, yet they failed to practice these methods after graduation.
They therefore called for greater emphasis on ensuring that teachers used learner-centred methods in the classrooms to improve education.