All district education offices in the country are to be equipped with printing machines to be used in the production of examination papers for basic schools, the Ghana Education Service (GES) has said.
The move comes after photographs of teachers in some basic schools in the Ashanti region writing examination questions on the chalkboard, went viral last week as pupils sat for their end of second term examinations.
A directive by the GES for heads to cease the collection of printing fees from pupils meant that until government released funds for such purposes, authorities had to devise a way of conducting examinations.
They believed writing the examination questions on the chalkboard was the best option – albeit tedious – leaving the GES unimpressed.
According to the Service, the directive to halt the collection of the printing fees was to avoid extortion and discrimination.
One of the schools where examination questions were written on the chaklboard
“We didn’t tell teachers to write on the chalkboard, we made teachers stop collecting printing fees because there was abuse from schools charging huge money for printing fee.
“We decided that teachers should stop collecting the printing fee and the printing fee should not hinder someone from writing the exams or prevent students from coming to school,” PRO of the GES said.
At a press conference on Thursday to address some issues in the education sector, Director General of the GES said the teachers’ decision to write the examination questions on the chalkboards was an unnecessary dramatisation of the situation.
According to Kwasi Opoku Amankwa, the Service had been in talks with the stakeholders, including the head teachers and their directors to address the issue but could not arrive at a decision before the schools were due to write examinations.
He said proposals were made for the provision “of printing equipment at all district education offices throughout the country to do the printing of examination questions and other printing needs of the schools and offices, without any direct financial commitment to any pupil or parent.”
The teachers said government’s failure to intervene contributed to the situation
Another proposal that was made at that consultative meeting was for part of the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) grant to be used in the printing of the examination papers, but the provision of the machines seems more plausible.
He said the printing machines will be available by the beginning of the next term and will be put to use.
Mr Amankwa stated that the Service will not revert to the old ways of things and that the directive for pupils not to be billed for examination papers will stand.
He stressed: “The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana provides for free compulsory basic education. The indication to us is that no child should be denied access to academic work by reason of a person’s inability to pay.
“Payment of any levies, fees which has the potential of denying any child access to academic work is therefore unacceptable,” Kwasi Opoku Amankwa told journalists.
He reiterated the Services’ commitment to implement the FCUBE and therefore “one’s inability to pay should not be the basis for which any child will be denied access to education.”