General News of Monday, 24 July 2017
The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has been dragged to court over the 200 candidates from the Bunkpurugu–Yunyoo District in the Northern Region who were unable to write two papers in this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
Child Rights International (CRI), which filed the suit at the Human Rights Division of the Accra High Court, is seeking an order to compel WAEC to reschedule the writing of the two papers — English Language and Religious and Moral Education — for the affected students.
The plaintiff is also seeking an order for the results of the affected students to be released “together with the results of the other BECE candidates nationwide to enable the affected students to enrol in second cycle institutions in September 2017”.
CRI is also seeking a declaration that the refusal or neglect of WAEC to reschedule the two papers – English and Religious & Moral Education — was a violation of the affected students’ “right to education guaranteed under Article 25 (1) and Article 38 of the 1992 Constitution”.
Other defendants named in the lawsuit are the Ministry of Education and the Attorney-General.
The affected candidates are from the Kambatiak, Gbingbamoni and Guanbiang communities in the district.
CRI claims that on June 5, 2017, the 200 candidates were unable to get to their examination centres to write the BECE papers scheduled for that day due to inconsistent communication of the exact centres for their schools by WAEC and the Ghana Education Service (GES).
Making its case in its application for the enforcement of the fundamental human rights, the CRI said the examination centre for the schools of the 200 students had over the years, been at Bindi, but in 2016, the Chief of Kambatiak appealed to the GES for a BECE examination centre to be established in the community.
The District Director of Education, it said, promised the chief of the intention of the GES to create a new examination centre at Gbankoni, another community in the district.
“The suggestion was, however, rejected by the chiefs and opinion leaders of Kambatiak because of its geographical location and the long distances that students will have to travel in order to write the exams,’’ it said.
CRI stated that a few days to the exams, the District Director of Education informed the chiefs of Kambatiak that candidates from the community would write the exams at Bunkpurugu, the district capital, but later said the students should meet at the original centre at Bindi.
Again, CRI said, on June 1, 2017, the District Director of Education told the chiefs that students from Kambatiak, Gbingbamoni and Guangbiang Junior High schools should report at a newly created centre at Gbankoni for the exams.
“As a result of these apparent inconsistencies emanating from GES offices, the affected students were left in a state of confusion as to where to write the exams. In consequence, they could not turn up on June 5, 2017 for the English Language and Religious and Moral Education papers,’’ it added.
At least 200 eligible BECE candidates from three communities in the Bunkpurugu –Yunyoo District in the Northern Region could not write English and Religious and Moral Education papers in the June 2017 BECE.
The situation was said to have been caused by a last-minute change in examination centre. The centre was changed from the shorter distance at Gbankoni to faraway Bunkpurugu because of an unresolved conflict between the three communities and Gbankoni.
However, WAEC said no arrangements could be made for the affected candidates who could not write the two papers on the first day.
According to the Director of Public Affairs of WAEC, Mrs Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, the only option left for the candidates from Gabatia, Gbogbamong and Guagdian was to re-register as private candidates later this year to enable them to write the two papers.