The West African Examination Council (WAEC) is furious over allegations that it has a penchant for unfairly marking down scripts of students from private schools in the Basic Education Certificate Exam (BECE).
Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNCOP) highlighted concerns about the results of the 2021 BECE and its accompanying difficulties with the Computerized School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS).
According to the Council, students from private schools are being unfairly penalized in the BECE in order to favor those from public schools throughout the selection process for high schools (SHS).
Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, the examinations management body’s public relations officer, responded to these problems on Eyewitness News by insisting that these are major claims that must be supported by proof.
“These are wild allegations from GHACOPS. I think that, they should go back and do their homework well and try and rectify the problem rather than relying on the false accusations that private schools are marked down. He who alleges must prove. These are wild allegations. I think they should prove because you can’t make these wild allegations and the feed the minds of the public with it.”
While asking the public to disregard these assertions, she further explained that the marking is done in such a manner that officers are unable to differentiate between private and public schools.
“I am a bit surprised at the allegations. We don’t have the name of schools on the scripts to know whether it is from a private or public school. Even with the envelope for the scripts, we do not make provisions for the name of schools. We have over 10,000 examiners so how do we get all these examiners and tell them that, these are scripts from the private schools so they should mark it differently from the public schools”, she quizzed.
Claims of private schools
President of GNACOP, Enoch Gyetuah, in an earlier interview with the press said that discrimination has resulted in the challenges many parents whose wards registered for the BECE with private schools are facing.
“Most of the private school students have been marked down, and we are calling for re-marking and even calling for an independent body to go into that. [There’s even discrimination in the aspect of placement]. The government has reserved 30% allocation to people in the public schools which means that if we write the same exam, and I am coming from a public school, I will be placed before someone from a private school irrespective of the grades we have,” he said.
He also observed that parents of private schools enroll their wards in public schools for their final examinations to avoid discrimination.
“Some public school heads even canvass [for private school kids]. They move from school to school for the students we have given a good [academic] foundation and register them in their schools. If you look at the trend, you will realize that we have an enrolment of about 40% at Class 6, but as they transit to JHS, the number reduces drastically because parents have realized that government has this allocation of 30% to public schools.”
Therefore, Mr. Gyetuah has urged for more clarity in the school placement process, which he believes has been biased in favor of individuals who attend public schools.
He also expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that the GES’ school placement resolution center only dealt with complaints involving category C and D schools, and that issues involving category A and B schools were not addressed.