Friday, 28 September 2012

BarCamp Ho Breakout Session: Reversing the Declining Trend of BECE Performance

BarCamp Ho 2012 featured five user-generated breakout sessions, namely, reversing the trend of poor Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) performance, environmental sanitation, risk management in entrepreneurship, using technology to solve problems and drama as an educational tool. In the "BECE session" led by Joel Degue, I was privileged to confer with Anne Amuzu, Maximus Ametorgoh, Edward Tagoe, Elvis Bomasah, Kwabena Akuamoah-Boateng, among others, on why BECE performance is at such a low ebb and what we can do about it.

Discussing the declining rate of BECE performance at #bcho
Joel previously digested the declining academic performance at the basic level in the Volta region on In his piece, he noted that "According to some records, the last decade alone saw over 3,669,138 BECE candidates sitting for that exam. Out of that figure 1,562,270 of them failed to make the required grades for progression to any of the secondary, technical and vocational schools."  With such an damning statistic staring us at the face we proceeded to dig at the issue.

So, what are the causes of poor academic performance at the BECE level? 

Poor school infrastucure contributes to poor BECE performance. Source:
  • Lack of dedicated teachers- most teachers are not qualified or do not have passion for the job
  • There is a big question mark over content. There is a disconnect between what's in the syllabus and the realities of the 21st century.
  • Presentation styles are not engaging. There is too much of instruction rather than discussion. Other formats of presenting information eg. audiovisual are missing. There is also lack of practicality in school work.
  • Parental apathy- some parents do little to ensure that their children stay in school and monitor their performance .
  • Lack of quality school infrastructure
  • Lack of motivation to study as other endeavours seem to be more rewarding and societal values keep changing.

How can the situation be improved?

  • Review school content to meet the realities of immediate environment of students
  • Incorporate games into teaching and learning
  • Use pictures and videos and not just text to communicate to learners.
  • Promote use of local languages especially in lower primary
  • Pressurise leaders to overhaul the system
Learning mathematics with a mobile device. Source:
We resolved to pressure the Ghana Education Service (GES), through the mass media, to take a look at restructuring basic school education in light of the poor outcomes and impracticability of the knowledge obtained. That said, I personally think the time is right to take a look at alternative modes of learning, such as use of mobile devices (m-learning) to bring the spark back into basic education and improve BECE performance.


  1. I like how you focused your blog post on the breakout session. Really allows us to break down the issues.

    Like I normally tell teachers, we have to move more to the idea of "our school has to do well and improve". Primary teachers especially have a huge task on their hands and they need all the help they can. They should get it from the students and the community. Make the success of the students the collective responsibility of all especially the smarter students.
    People choose to go to schools because the school has traditionally done well and not because Mawuli or Asumasi went there.

    Our teachers also need to employ innovative measures of teaching and imparting knowledge. This lends directly to the much-talked about point - a focus on understanding, problem-solving techniques and tactics and creativity should be paramount in our education system from day one.

    1. Thanks, Clue. Actually we should be working more on this for BarCamps.

      Your observations and insights are apt. Every stakeholder in the school system must adopt the mainframe do continuous improvement- kaizen. That is the way to go if we want results beyond "chew, pour, pass and forget."


Keep comments and insights coming to get the discussion going!