The woefully inadequate examination centers in Kwahu Afram Plains South District of Eastern Region has forced hundreds of candidates in the ongoing BECE to spend nights in shabby classrooms in the district capital Tease.
The Kwahu Afram Plains South District has only one WAEC approved Examination center -the St.Fidelis Senior High Technical School.
Maame Krobo Community Day Senior High School has temporarily been added by WAEC after a request by the District Assembly last month as a measure to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
Candidates living outside Tease who have to trek over 30km from both Island and Inland communities have resorted to sleeping in classrooms since last Sunday till the examination ends Friday, September 18.
This phenomenon is annual inconvenience candidates who seat the BECE go through.
This year, 1,039 candidates were expected to write the BECE examination in the District but thirteen candidates including four boys and nine girls did not turn up.
Among candidates writing the exams are three (3) pregnant girls and three (3) nursing mothers. One of the pregnant girls suffered spontaneous labour on Monday during the exams hence was rushed to Donkorkrom Hospital where she delivered a baby boy.
Starr News' visit to the school where these candidates are perching revealed a harrowing condition. The candidates were clustered in stuffy classrooms with poor illumination. The scourge of mosquitoes in the classrooms and lack of access to water and toilet facilities exacerbate the distressing conditions of the candidates.
"We came here on Sunday which was 13th, September. We came from far to come and write our final exams because there is no centre in our place. We came to Tease to sleep in the classrooms, we are 30 in number in a room," a disturbed candidate told Starr News.
Another said "we sleep in the classroom, we buy water every day to bath. We don't have mosquito nets, mosquitoes are always biting us. The windows are not good."
"If we have BECE center in Forifori it will help us without coming here because when we come here the situation is not good for us. They have locked up all the school toilets so we don't have any place to defecate we do it in the bush."
Whereas 22 Candidates from Fosu Community were benefiting from the kind gesture of the Assembly Member for the area who has hired a cook for them, others were seen cooking at night while many searched for food in town.
John Tsatsu Assembly Member for Fori Fori electoral area also a teacher voluntarily taking care of candidates from his electoral area in the school is worried hence calling on WAEC to create more Examination centers for the district.
"If it comes to BECE exams it is about forty-six JHS with only one center. Mostly the children write in Tease. But this year, we petitioned WAEC so they have created a temporal center at Maame Krobo Community Day SHS which has reduced the number a bit because of Covid-19. At first, when you come here like this it is like a convention, hundreds of students from various villages on Island and over 30Km away all come to sleep here," said John Tsatsu.
He added "we are appealing to the government to come to our aide and open more centers for the children. Look at where they sleep before writing the exams. It is very appalling. A particular room which is supposed to take twenty-five or thirty is taking about forty but if the crowd like that maybe we will finish with these exams and so many students will get sick. Right now speaking to you, about three or four students have been rushed to the hospital."
DCE for Kwahu Afram Plains South, George Ofori says efforts are being made for five additional examination centers to be created in the district to mitigate the annual hassle of BECE candidates from remote communities.
He said WAEC recently approved a proposal by the District to have its own Examination Depot to keep the exam papers to prevent the challenges of travelling long distances for the papers.
"In fact from next year, we are going to have five centers. We will have one at Ekye, one at Krobo, Forifori, Tease and Samenhyia."