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Tuesday, November 30, 2021
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Postponement of BECE Exams: What pupils, parents & teachers say?

By Victoria Saffa

The postponement of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) by the government through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the West African Examination Council (WAEC), just few days to its commencement, as a result of the deadly Ebola outbreak in the country, has been received with mixed emotions among parents/guardians, school administrators and pupils who had prepared for the exam.

While some support the decision to postpone the examination until August, others are of the opinion that it should have gone ahead in places where the Ebola outbreak has not affected.

However, Concord Times’ ace reporter, Victoria Saffa, took to the streets of Freetown to get the views of parents, pupils, teachers and Principals of schools, and this is what they say:

Hassan S. Daoh – Acting Principal, Sierra Leone Muslim Union Secondary School

I am in total support of the decision of the government to postpone the BECE exam until August. Honestly, I think it would have been unfair for pupils in Kailahun and Kenema if WAEC had allowed pupils in Freetown and other parts of the country to go ahead with the examination on the stipulated date.

Nevertheless, I am pleading with the government to ensure that a date is fixed without delay for the commencement of the exam. We will continue conducting classes for our pupils until we have the right date.

Abu-Bakarr S. Conteh – Teacher

It is no secret that the spread of the Ebola virus across the country led to the postponement of the BECE exam by the authorities, but the timing was not right. My concern is that teachers, principals and pupils were not informed and as I am speaking to you, no specific date has been set for its commencement.

In fact, our pupils are no longer attending classes in school simply because they have no idea about the new date for the exam. We are doing our best to talk to the parents and pupils to understand the reason for the postponement of the exam.

I am appealing to the authorities concerned to fix an appropriate date within the shortest possible time for the exam to be taken while the fight against the Ebola virus continues.

Sahr Sumana – JSS III Pupil

I am disappointed by the decision to postpone the exam because I’ve been studying very hard for the past six months to keep myself ready for the exam, but all of a sudden we were told by our teachers that the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has postponed the exam.

What worries me most is the fact that no specific date has been set for the exam. I was planning to go for holiday to my parents in the village but that has been put on hold because I am yet to take my exam.

We are pleading with the government to allow those of us in Freetown and other parts of the country that are not severely affected by the Ebola virus to take the exam. We are planning a peaceful protest if the authorities fail to allow us to write the exam.

Assanatu Sillah – JSS III Pupil

I have been in doubt as to whether the BECE exam will go ahead this academic year because, as I speak, nothing has been done by the Ministry of Education with regards setting a date for the exam to be taken.

I listen to the radio daily and most of what I get from the news is negative about the exam. I feel disappointed by the decision to postpone the exam. I no longer have the zeal to study at night.

Kadiatu Fofanah – Parent   

Honestly, I think the postponement of the BECE exam is unfair on the part of the majority of the pupils who have studied very hard for the exam. I think the government should have found another alternative of dealing with the Ebola virus in Kailahun and Kenema, where a few percentage of BECE pupils are residing, instead of postponing the exam indefinitely.

It is also unfair on us the parents who had paid the sum of two hundred and fifty thousand Leones (Le250,000) for our children to take the exam. Besides, I am still paying monthly lesson fees for my child because I don’t want him to sit at home without doing anything.

If the government fails to announce a right date for the exam in August, we are going to stage a peaceful protest.

Santigie Kamara – Parent  

It is really disappointing for the government to have taken such a decision to postpone the BECE exam just few days to its commencement. What I think the government should have done is to transport BECE pupils in Kailahun and Kenema to other centers outside the two districts for them to write the exam, instead of postponing it.

How could the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology just go on air and announce the postponement without first informing parents and pupils about their decision?

Kannie Sesay – JSS III Pupil

I feel disappointed with the postponement of the exam because I was planning to go to the village and help my parents do some work to raise money for my fees, but that is no longer going to happen.

I only hope that the exam will go ahead in September and not suspended until the next school year because it will be devastating for the pupils, especially we the girls.

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