November 8, 2017 By Joseph S. Margai
As parents of children who wrote the 2016 Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) raise concern over delay to release the results, the country’s head of West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) have refused to proffer any comments.
Mohamed Turay, a parent whose son wrote the 2016 BECE, expressed frustration that WAEC was making things difficult for parents because of their inordinate delay to release results while at the same time keeping everyone in suspense.
“My son started to take the BECE in July and ended in August this year. The results normally come out in September or latest October but it has been delayed this year and I don’t know why,” he said.
Turay said they expected the results to be released in September but were frustrated that it had not been released, adding that an early release would help parents prepare better as their children enter senior secondary school.
Another parent, Alhassan Bangura, noted that, “monies are very difficult to come by at this moment in the country’s history. We need to prepare very well but our preparations depend on the results of our children – if they pass or not.”
Meanwhile, a principal in one of the secondary schools in Freetown who spoke to this medium on condition of anonymity maintained that if BECE results are released latest in October every year and pupils enrolled into senior secondary school, teachers would be able to complete the school syllabus by the end of the academic year.
“Most times if results are released late pupils would only start to attend school in the second term of the academic year. And in such circumstance, it will be very difficult to complete the school syllabus having missed the first term of the three terms in the academic year,” said the anonymous principal.
He said preparation for the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) usually begins from the first year, and that if students miss any term in that year making for lost time might be very difficult.
“That is why we have been getting complaints of poor WASSCE results. If pupils are to do very well in that exam they have to go the extra mile because of late release of results,” he said.
When our reporter went to the local WAEC office to get clarification as to why the release of BECE results has delayed, he was unable to get any clear answers from officials.
After waiting for 45 minutes, an official of council commented thus: “We are still processing the result that’s why we have delayed to release them. I will not tell you more than that. In fact the head of office is very busy to see you now and I can’t tell you to come back.”
Meanwhile, Public Relations Officer at MEST, Brima Michael Turay, could not respond to the issue either despite several attempts to speak to him on phone and text messages.
WAEC had in the past complained about government’s delay to release monies to pay examiners hired by the examination body to mark answer booklets. However, this year, both WAEC and MEST have kept sealed lips as to why the delay to release of the results, a situation that has raised lots of questions among parents.