The Deputy Education Minister, Osei Yaw Adutwum has announced there will be no cut-off point for candidates sitting this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
Dr Adutwum who is in charge of Basic and Secondary Education made the revelation after some candidates in Chereponi expressed concern the conflict there would impact their performance as they have lost many contact hours.
In an interview with Joy News’ Gifty Andoh Appiah who was in Chereponi, the candidates pleaded with the feuding factions to bring the conflict to an end so they could prepare for their final exams.
However, speaking on the Pulse on Joy New, the deputy minister said no student will be denied senior high school education because they could not make a certain grade as was previously the case.
“I saw in your interview at Chereponi where students were complaining that because now we have a cut-off point of 25 they are not prepared and I saw the girls break down as you spoke with them. I just want them to know that there is no cut-off point of 25. So inasmuch as we want them to do well, they should not give up that it is 25 and therefore they cannot go,” he told Gifty Andoh Appiah.
The BECE is the main exam for junior high school education in Ghana and can even pave the way for a student to attend technical institutes.
In the past, grades from this exam determined whether or not a student progressed to senior high school and which particular school. Those who failed to make the cut off point – which used to be aggregate 30 but was reduced to 25 – could not go to senior high schools of their choice or go to school at all.
For the students of the Chereponi E.P Junior High School, the thought of not being able to make the cut-off point was a great source of worry as the conflict led to the fleeing of their teachers from the town and the closure of their school.
But these students will no longer have to worry about a cut off point.
They are, however, required to pass their English and Mathematics papers if they want to gain admission into senior high school.
Dr Adutwum said that will be the only requirement they must meet because there is no cut-off point, “it is only when you fail in both English and maths that you have to go and resit and come back.”
This decision affects not only the Chereponi students but all candidates sitting the BECE exams.
Sadly, though, the candidates from Chereponi will not receive any special treatment when it comes to marking due to the contact hours lost.
“However, the dispensation for students who went to public schools is the fact that we have reserved 30% of spaces in our top performing schools for students who happen to go to public schools.
“And, therefore, they can go to top tier schools at lower grades with lower grades than those who went to private schools and I hope that the Chereponi students will get the opportunity in such areas,” the Deputy Minister said.
Traditionally, only candidates with stellar grades (most of coming from private junior high schools) gained admission into the country’s top senior high schools.
With the current arrangement, however, candidates from deprived junior high schools (largely public schools) who may not obtain such high grades will get the opportunity to attend reputable, top-performing and high-grade senior high schools.