By Hillary Obayangbon, Accra

 

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After months of uncertainty and apprehension arising out of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) kicks off for Ghanaian candidates today.

In all, 375,737 candidates from 976 schools will be writing the examination at 796 centres throughout the country.
Out of the figure, about 188,163 are females, while the remaining 187,573 are males.

Regional breakdown

The Ashanti and the Eastern regions top with 87,295 and 56,467 candidates, respectively, while the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions combined follow with 45,295 candidates, with the Central and the Greater Accra regions presenting 42,956 and 37,974 candidates, respectively.
The Oti and Volta regions together are presenting 34,466 candidates, with the Northern, Savanna and North East also presenting 248,330, while the Western and Western North regions present 24,332 candidates.
The Upper East and Upper West regions follow with 13,334 and 8,798, respectively.

Practical
The examination begins with the Visual Arts project, which will be done by 65,380 candidates in eight different areas.

A total of 750 candidates will do Basketry; 6,620 will do Ceramics, while 22,929 will do Graphic Design.
Some 29,983 candidates will do the practical work in Jewellery, while 9,826 will go in for Leatherworks, with 7,986, 7,484 and 6,805 candidates engaging in Picture Making, Sculpture and Textiles, respectively.
Readiness of WAEC

Commenting on the readiness of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), the Head of the National Office of WAEC, Mrs Wendy Enyonam Addy-Lamptey, said with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of examination personnel, including invigilators, had been scaled up due to the social distancing protocol, which had necessitated the use of additional classrooms.
“The number of examination personnel has been revised upward by 10 per cent to cater for the additional classrooms to be used by the candidates to meet the COVID-19 social distancing protocol,” she explained.

She said originally, 16,218 examination personnel, made up of supervisors, assistant supervisors, invigilators and security personnel, were to administer the examination, “but because of the COVID-19 protocols, the figure has been revised upwards by 10 per cent”.

Cheating
Mrs Addy-Lamptey explained that WAEC was ready to conduct the WASSCE for all its member countries from August to September and urged the candidates to take advantage of the opportunity to prepare for the examination, assuring them that “once they prepare well, they can definitely pass it without cheating”.

She said it was the fear of failure that drove candidates to pander to all sorts of examination malpractice, adding: “There is nothing to fear. I want to encourage them to make use of the opportunity given them by the government to be in school and have more time with their teachers.”