Bright Appiah, Executive Director, Child Rights International (CRI)

Child Rights International (CRI), a child-centred organisation, has called on the Ministry of Education (MoE) to consider using the continuous assessment method as an alternative to award certification or grade students who are going to write BECE and WASSCE in the absence of written examinations at the end of their school term.

The move, according to the organisation, would remove the burden of MoE and the Ghana Education Service (GES) having to go through the difficulties of awarding certification and grading students as a result of the global impact of the Coronavirus.

In a statement issued and signed by its Executive Director, Mr. Bright Appiah, CRI said “irrespective of the impact COVID-19 is having on the education sector, the country’s primary goal is to ensure that children’s rights are minimally affected, especially their right to education.

” Whatever decision is taken concerning this particular area, the country must ensure it is in line with constitutional directives which dictate that in everything we do, we must put the best interests of children first,” the statement said.

Assessment

Following the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s educational sector, CRI said the process of grading students this term should be scrapped completely to pave the way for adopting a new system of awarding marks to students.

In the new system, Mr. Appiah said, the continuous assessment must be made a priority in grading students.

The continuous assessment method is a form of educational assessment that evaluates a student’s progress throughout a prescribed course. It is often an integral part to the final examination system. Currently in Ghana, at the BECE level, continuous assessment forms 40 percent of the whole examination scores; and at the WASSCE level, it is 30 per cent, which is calculated cumulatively.

“To guarantee the integrity of continuous assessment, the Director of Child Rights International proposes new indicators: such as performance of students in schools; their history in terms of class and homework; contributions in class activities; their results achieved over the past three years stay in school; and the history of the school or record of the school over the past five years as a benchmark to determine students who will get either A or B,” the statement said.

To also ensure equity in grade A, B and C schools, the benchmark must differ based on history of the school.

For instance, Mr. Appiah said, the bench-mark to assess the grading of some top-notch school might be 80% while others might be 70% or less depending on the school’s previous records.

New approach

Explaining why it was necessary to adopt a new approach for this term, Mr. Appiah said one of the major sectors that COVID-19 has affected deeply apart from trade activities among nations is the education sector.

“UNESCO, in a recent report, stated that the number of children out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic stood around one billion children worldwide. According to the report, nine out of 10 children are out of school globally as a result of the virus outbreak,” CRI stated.

Faced with similar situations, Mr. Appiah said. countries have devised ways of ensuring that school children still have access to education while they comply with directives to practice social distancing.

“Countries like France and the USA have taken steps in rectifying this issue by suspending examinations altogether, and implementing new protocols to ensure the academic year flows seamlessly whenever it is reinstated,” he said.