The Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, expressed concerns regarding Junior High School students potentially facing the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) without access to textbooks. Asare explained that a curriculum shift occurred following the finalization of the Common Core curriculum by the government.
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Speaking on JoyFM’s Super Morning Show, Asare emphasized that the first batch of students using the Common Core curriculum is expected to take the BECE next year. However, he raised a significant issue – the lack of textbooks for these students.
According to Asare, there is a critical timeline concern. If efforts are not made to provide textbooks between the current date and June, these students might find themselves “writing BECE without seeing any textbooks.” This is particularly alarming as they have commenced learning under the Common Core curriculum.
Asare clarified that the anticipated lack of textbooks is attributed to a dispute between publishers and the government. Publishers, initially optimistic about the government’s promise of 100% local content support in the publication of textbooks, reportedly procured loans to print textbooks. However, they claim that the government has not fulfilled its payment obligations, leaving them in financial distress.
Highlighting the severity of the problem, Asare noted that the publishers owe about 90% of their expenses and emphasized the substantial costs involved in creating textbooks. This financial strain has led to a situation where, if publishers have not been paid, the textbooks are likely not ready, let alone undergoing the procurement process.
In conclusion, Asare expressed skepticism about the timely availability of junior school textbooks, stating, “That’s why I don’t see the junior school textbooks happening anytime between now and the next BECE.” The potential implications of students taking the exam without essential textbooks raise concerns about the overall preparedness and fairness of the examination process.