The Director of Child Rights International, Bright Appiah has urged the government particularly the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Ghana Education Service (GES) to consider using continuous Assessment to award certificates to 2020 BECE and WASSCE candidates.
The Director said since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus it has deeply affected the education sectors of almost every country, he added that UNESCO, in a recent report, stated that over 1.37 billion schools children worldwide have been asked to stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the report, nine out of 10 children are out of school globally as a result of the virus outbreak. UNESCO Director-General, Madam Audrey Azoulay, in reference to these current statistics stated; “The global scale and speed of the current educational disruption are unparalleled and, if prolonged, could threaten the right to education”.
Bright Appiah added that unfortunately for Ghana we have had our share of the global issue, with over 3 million school children currently at home as a school break amid the pandemic.
He continued that this has disrupted the academic calendar of the country’s educational system and has almost made it impossible for children to have contact hours which contribute to the award of certificate in all academic stages, including the BECE and WASCE. adding that these are not normal times, adapting to change and resorting to innovation has become inevitable.
Commenting on the need for the government to consider using continuous Assessment to award certificates he said countries like France and the USA have taken steps in rectifying this issue by waiving examinations altogether and implementing new protocols to ensure the academic year flows seamlessly whenever it is reinstated.
International Baccalaureate (IB) in France, in a statement released, said diplomas or certificates would be awarded to students based on calculations that would put a priority on their coursework marks and predicted grades. In the USA, President Donald Trump has announced that standardized tests would not be required this academic year for elementary and high school.
He further added that Ghana, when confronted with the pandemic, closed down major gatherings including schools.
This means that all schools are not running their normal calendar as expected. After a few days the directives were given, West Africa Examination Council(WEAC) suspended a major examination that determines the future of children in this country and beyond.
These measures are not yet clear and the way forward has not been ironed properly for JHS and SHS students. The right to education sticks out especially now that schools have closed down.
The major question on the minds of stakeholders and those within the education sector is “in awarding our final year students certificate for further education, how is Ghana preparing itself to use innovation to achieve that goal?
In this situation, Bright Appiah believes strongly that using continuous assessment as an alternative for grading students for certification will be most normal and appropriate thing to do.
He disclosed that in Ghana the continuous assessment mark for Junior and Senior High Schools is 40% and 30% respectively and so in order to augment the lack of examinable grades, students could be graded based on their continuous assessment and other indicators such as student contributions in class, homework and predicted grades.
Based on this, marks can be awarded for students to signify their completion of Junior High School and Senior High. On the other hand, the time that students have missed during this period could be included in the third school term which will determine if a student is promoted or not.
He said the additional time will allow teachers and students alike to cover educational content missed out on this term.
Based on the information provided above, CRI is making two strong recommendations.
1. Continuous assessment should be used as an alternative to grade students in the absence of written examinations.
2. The process of grading students this term can be scraped completely to pave way for the adoption of a new system of rewarding marks to students
“We are faced with a quagmire. Our primary goal is to do our best to ensure children’s rights are minimally affected, especially their right to education. Whatever decision that is taken concerning this particular area, the country must ensure it is in line with constitutional directives that dictate that in everything we do, we must put the best interest of children, FIRST”. he said