The Ebonyi State government through its Ministry of Education has approved the commencement of the 2020 Basic Education Certificate Examination, popularly referred to as Junior WAEC, across the State from September 21, 2020.
The approval was disclosed by the State Commissioner for Education, Onyebuchi Chima, in his office in Abakaliki on Monday during a meeting with education stakeholders in the State.
Onyebuchi however informed the stakeholders that the State Government has directed that the questions for the examination be written on classroom boards instead of the usual printed question papers by the Ministry.
Customised answer sheets would not be made available also as the principals and proprietors of schools have been directed to collect ordinary foolscap sheets with ink markers and or chalks at their Local Education Authorities for the examination.
According to Chima, every school shall collect only one question paper in each of the subjects for replication manually on class boards for the students, while there would be no room for practicals or alternative to practicals as before.
Part of the resolution reads: “That this years exams shall be written on the board for the students to answer into the provided full scalp sheets which must be signed by the Local Education Authorities before issuance to the school principals.
“The exams shall last only one hour each paper.
“That each student is expected to answer only two questions in all.
“That all questions shall be theory, no objectives.
“That only main papers shall be given, no practical or alternative to practicals
“That students should not be taxed for any practical as the ministry shall be on ground for monitoring of the exams.
“That only Ministry of Education shall monitor private schools.”
On general school reopening, the Commissioner noted that the Ministry would send a memo to Governor David Umahi for approval of resumption date.
Meanwhile, most schools principals as well as proprietors of private schools have expressed gross disappointment with the development, accusing the government of shortchanging both the schools and the students.
Those who spoke to our Correspondent explained that the Ministry has no justification in directing that the examinations be written on class boards after the government had levied huge sums of money on the schools and the students.
A school proprietor who spoke on condition of anonymity lamented that the government’s directive on the conduct of the examination tantamounts to pitching the parents, pupils and students against individual school managers, a development he maintained was not healthy for educational development of the State.
According to him, all the private schools were charged Annual Renewal Fee from N30,000 to 500,000 by the government based on assessment.
He added that before now, each of the candidate in the 181 private schools and 226 public schools in the State had also paid a sum of N3,050, which included practical examination and other petty fees, remitted to government through the schools.
He called on Governor Umahi to prevail on the Ministry of Education to print the examination question papers for the candidates to make the BECE worthwhile.
Similarly, a prospective candidate who identified herself as Nkwuda, from one of the Junior secondary Schools in Izzi Local Government Area of the State, said the examination would completely lose its significance for her if the question papers were not printed as before.
She appealed to government to rescind its decision for the good of the students.
The meeting was attended by school principals, proprietors, representatives of the National Association of proprietors of private schools, among others.