Last Thursday, July 21, the Basic Education Certificate Examination, BECE, otherwise known as Junior WAEC, finally started in Anambra State after an uncharacteristic delay that had stakeholders in education, as well as students worried. The delay, according to our findings, was occasioned by the failure of the Education Ministry to raise money from secondary schools via Pay Direct, the new system, of payment sanctioned by the state government. The exams are expected to finish on Friday, July 29.
The delay which made Anambra the last state to conduct the annual examination, has consequently dislocated the flow of the Education system in the state. One, students who earlier studied with enthusiasm for the exams, later lost momentum and just as they had set their minds on going on vacation, the date of the examination was announced. Also teachers will now be forced to mark the papers hurriedly and this has its attendant disadvantages. It is well known that anything rushed is not beneficial.
While many people are bound to heave a sigh of relief that the exams will finally start, we feel that whatever that delayed the exams was uncalled for and quite embarrassing. It certainly smacks of unpreparedness and planlessness, especially given the fact that the examinations are an annual event held within a fixed period.
However, now that things have been sorted out, it behoves the Education Ministry to take stock of what happened with a view to ensuring that it does not happen again.
Education is one sector where Anambra State has shone in the past four years due to the enormous boost the sector had enjoyed within the period. Such boost had seen students from the state excelling in national examinations like the West African School Certificate, WAEC, and National Examinations Council, NECO.
This is thus the reason why the education managers in the state must sit up and ensure that the momentum is kept. The news of Anambra not being able to conduct an annual exam like BECE is certainly a negation of the successes recently recorded in the sector.
We repeat that whatever caused this last delay should be identified and handled well to avoid the embarrassment, anxiety and frustration experienced by parents, teachers and students.
Education is key to the future and must not be toyed with for any reason. This is hoping that the students taking the ongoing examinations will remain focused and not be thrown off balance by the shoddy handling that characterised this year's BECE.