General News of Thursday, 22 January 2015
The West African Examinations Council says its directive to schools to ensure that pictures of candidates show specific features of their faces, has been misunderstood.
It follows concerns raised by the Islamic Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service over the WAEC directive that candidates for its examinations including the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) should not have head coverings when taking passport-size pictures for purposes of examinations.
Some WAEC officials in the Western Region are said to have asked candidates from Islamic schools taking passport-size photos during registration for the exams, to remove their headscarfs or hijabs because, they concealed features including forehead, nose and chin.
Obviously unhappy with the order, the Greater Accra Regional Manager of Islamic Education Unit of the GES, Sheikh Shaibu Aremeyaw described the directive as “very worrying and a violation of the human rights” of the female students.
“In Ghana Muslims have been very law abiding and very peaceful…but matters of religion go to the very core of our lives,” Sheikh Shaibu told Kojo Yankson, host of the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Thursday, January 22.
He questioned the motive behind issuing such a directive and wondered if it was the interest of some persons within WAEC “to push Muslims beyond what is humanly tolerable”.
However, explaining the reason necessitating the order, Public Relations Officer at WAEC, Agnes Teye Cudjoe said the directive was misinterpreted.
“I think there has been some miscommunication somewhere, and we’ll address that. Nowhere in our specification have we stated that [female students] remove your veil or no photographs,” she added.
She said if the students can show the features of their faces without taking off the veil “we are fine with that”.