Candidates of this year’s West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) had to write the Chemistry Alternative B practicals in batches because they were too many and science laboratory equipment at some examination centres was inadequate.
A visit to some of the schools revealed that as one batch did the practicals, other batches had to be quarantined for them to take their turn later.
The schools visited in Accra included the Presbyterian Boys’ Senior High School (PRESEC), Legon, Achimota School, Accra Girls’ Senior High School, Accra High School and Accra Academy.
More than 407,000 candidates from 724 public and private senior high schools (SHS) are writing this year’s WASSCE.
The examination involves the highest number of candidates from the two batches of final-year SHS students — the final four-year SHS students and the first batch of three-year SHS students.
The Examination Supervisor at PRESEC, Mr Samuel Nkansah, told the Daily Graphic that the candidates had to undertake the practicals in batches because of the size of the science laboratory, Emmanuel Bonney writes.
He said there was a large number of candidates this year and so some had to wait for others to finish their practicals before taking their turn.
“It has been well so far,” he said, adding that the large number of candidates had made things a little bit difficult.
At Achimota School, while some of the candidates were busily doing the practicals, others had been quarantined.
The Headmistress of the school, Ms Beatrice Tsotso Adom, said 84 candidates had to take the Chemistry Alternative B practicals and they had to be divided into three sets.
She said to ensure adequate security, the school had deployed about 95 per cent of its staff to supervise the examination.
The authorities of Accra High School had to divide the 101 Science candidates into three batches because of the size of the laboratory.
The Headmistress of Accra Girls’ SHS, Ms Veronica Akapame, said the school had assigned about 80 per cent of its teaching staff to supervise the examination to ensure total security.
At Accra Academy, the Assistant Headmaster in charge of Administration, Nii Abbey-Ashong, said all had been well as far as the conduct of the examination was concerned.
An adequate number of staff, he said, had the onerous responsibility of providing security for the conduct of the examination.
Meanwhile, some of the WASSCE candidates have said the examination has gone well with them so far.
Tim Dzamboe reports from Ho that so far there has not been any challenges with the conduct of the WASSCE.
During a visit to some SHSs in the Ho municipality yesterday, some candidates were seen writing the Chemistry practical paper in a relatively quiet environment.
At Mawuli SHS, the Assistant Headmaster (Academic), Rev Samuel Senanu Asieni, said there had been no disruption, adding that everything had been going on well since the examination started six days ago.
The Assistant Headmaster (Academic) of the Evangelical Presbyterian Mawuko Girls’ SHS, Mr Delight Dodzi Nyamuame, also said everything was going on smoothly and expressed the hope that the rest of the examination would be conducted without any hitches.
For his part, the Assistant Headmaster (Academic) of OLA SHS, Mr Lawrence Ochoga Asamoah, talked about the prevailing conducive atmosphere for the examination, with no problems encountered so far.
From Koforidua, A. Kofoya-Tetteh reports that the conduct of the examination has so far been smooth in schools in the New Juaben and the West Akyem municipalities.
The only problem has been how to collect the fees owed by a large number of the candidates who have not fully paid but have been allowed to write the examination.
At the Asamankese SHS in the West Akyem municipality, the Headmaster, Mr Samson Afrifa, said before the commencement of the examination, GH¢420,000 was owed by some of the candidates to the school.
However, the arrears had reduced to GH¢70,000.
Mr Afrifa said he had to invite parents of candidates who owed fees to the school to pay up because some of the candidates had deliberately refused to pay, although the money had been given to them by their parents.
He indicated that he had allowed defaulting students to write the examination, after which their parents would settle the bills.
The situation was not different at the Pope John SHS and Junior Seminary at Effiduasi in the New Juaben municipality.
According to the Headmaster, Mr Isaac Larweh Odentey, he was arranging a meeting with the parents of defaulting students to pay their fees.
The conduct of the WASSCE in the Ashanti Region has been generally calm, save pockets of nasty incidents in some schools, reports Kwame Asare Boadu.
According to the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), instances of examination malpractice which used to be a problem in the past had surfaced in some schools.
“In every human endeavour you cannot say everything will be perfect, but I can say that so far, so good,“ the Ashanti Regional Coordinator of WAEC, Mr William Amexo, told the Daily Graphic.
There was a incident at the Christ the King SHS in Obuasi in which a candidate was arrested by the police for allegedly assaulting an invigilator.
The candidate is said to have sent some foreign materials into the examination hall and when he was confronted by an invigilator, he gave the invigilator some dirty slaps.
In another incident at the Asare Bediako SHS at Akrokerri on Tuesday, April 16, 2013, a WAEC inspector, Mr A. Wenide, had a confrontation with the school authorities when he (inspector) allegedly entered the examination hall when the candidates were writing the Geography paper and started searching them.
He is said to have asked some of the students to strip to their underpants as he searched for foreign materials, a situation that brought confusion to the examination centre.
When he was later confronted by the Headmaster of the school, Mr C.W. Nuako, over the unorthodox mode of searching the students, the WAEC official flared up.
Generally, schools in Kumasi, the regional capital, have not recorded any serious incidents.