The University student chamber (UNISC), has petitioned the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) to postpone the upcoming Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and West Africa Secondary Schools Examination both organised by WAEC.
A statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of UNISC, Mr.Joseph Owusu sighted by Ghanashowbiz.com raises concerns over final year students staying back in schools preparing for their examination in the mist of the coronavirus outbreak.
Find the full statement below:
The University Student Chamber Ghana, as an SDG advocacy and Student-centred organization has written to the West African Examination Council calling on them to postpone the upcoming West African Secondary School Certificate Examination and Basic Education Certificate Examination due to the outbreak of the deadly fast-spreading pandemic, CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19). Copies of the said letter were sent to the President of the Republic, Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education.
The reasons as stated in the letter are as follows;
As you may recall, the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, issued an order for the closure of all basic, secondary and tertiary educational institutions both public and private. However, H.E. the President excluded final year students at the Basic and Secondary levels due to the external examinations they have to sit for, organized by WAEC.
Considering the highly infectious nature of the COVID-19, we believe the purpose for the closure of schools by the President will not be fully served with the final year students still being in school. Over 450,000 students are expected to sit for this year’s WASSCE, which begins in less than two weeks (30th March 2020). The BECE, which also commences in about three months with the expectation of over 510,000 students sitting for it. In effect, over 960,000 students will be going about their normal school activities.
“Researchers say any interaction between two people within 10 feet of each other has the potential to spread infections, such as influenza, common colds, whooping cough, via droplets transmitted by sneezing, coughing, or direct contact” (Warner). With knowledge of the crowded nature of our classrooms especially in public schools, coupled with how students engage in thousands of social interactions, Ghana will be recording astronomical numbers of galloping confirmed cases of COVID-19 should just one final year student contract it.
We are also of the view that, the lives of the teachers who are preparing these final year students have been endangered with the current arrangement because of the upcoming WASSCE and BECE. Typical Ghanaian Staff Common Rooms for public Senior High Schools are usually crowded with teachers, which will facilitate fast spread of COVID-19. These are teachers who made all of us who we are today, how then and for what reason, should we risk their lives?
The Director General of the World Health Organization at a Media Briefing on COVID- 19 on 16th March 2020 warned against large gathering as a measure to curb transmission of the virus. It’s logically highly predictable that on examination days, gatherings of large numbers will be witnessed. Distribution and collection of examination question papers and answer booklets are also potential mediums through which the virus can spread.
We understand WASSCE is written by five West African countries. Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia and The Gambia with the exception of Sierra Leone have all recorded confirmed cases of CORONAVIRUS. The cancellation will serve same significant purpose of reducing the risk of rapid spread of COVID-19 in all these countries with Sierra Leone being the only exception and we are sure they will all welcome the development. Prevention, we always say is better than cure. We therefore should not risk the lives of final year students and teachers as well as relatives of these students.
Having shed light on the need for the postponement of the upcoming WASSCE and BECE in the foregoing paragraphs, we sincerely hope WAEC will demonstrate their institution’s needed commitment towards the eradication of the pandemic of this our time.
Communications Committee University Student Chamber Ghana
Ed-Joe Building, Westlands Blvd Avenue, West Legon.
C/o Dome Hotel, P.O. Box AN 10910, Accra.
HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS (0203528070)
ADDO BENJAMIN ARMAH PRESIDENT
1ST VICE PRESIDENT
TO: ALL MEDIA HOUSES