By Anthony Kwaku Amoah
By the close of next week, we will be seeing yet another flood of graduates at one corner or the other. A few days ago, about 376,859 pupils completed the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) nationwide. Of the figure, about 203,394 were males, with 173,465 being females. Very soon, those writing the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination will also come to add to the existing numbers waiting for results.
These graduates would go through an academic fallow period, as the examining body (WAEC) processes their results. The majority pray and wait anxiously for good results for further studies. Some may want the results to go into other life ventures.
There are no special provisions made to cater for the needs of this group of graduates. Not until their results are released, they cannot do any official thing with their acquired education and training. Both the school and society are supposed to show care and love to these people. They must be given social, economic, and moral support as they await their results.
The modern challenges of life are intimidating. The young graduate needs basic life skills to be useful in society. He/she must be equipped with adequate knowledge on reproductive health, time management, obedience, honesty, loyalty, etc.
A student who lacks knowledge on the above areas of disciplines stands the risk of becoming corrupt and hopeless in society. The survival, or otherwise, of any society depends on the quality of its labour force. This can be produced through proper education, support and motivation. Any education provided is meaningless, unless it is linked up with the total development of the learner. Graduates deserve some interventions to be able to impact significantly on society.
Our graduates have faced various forms of neglect over the years. Immediately after school, awaiting-results graduates are often forgotten until the results are released. No official preparatory lessons for further education are organised for such graduates while they await their results. If not anything at all, students could be taken through some form of guidance and counseling for a few days after their examinations. Unfortunately, our schools have been blind on this.
Stakeholders must support the school to equip students with life-after-school education. The well-endowed schools should open their doors for graduates to visit, say, computer laboratories for practical lessons. Provided such programmes are properly structured and coordinated, students should be expected to acquire much knowledge by the time their results are out. The boredom that some students go through while they await their results is also broken.
If it is really the government’s resolve to scale down the soaring attrition rates of transition from basic level to the senior high level through to the tertiary, then there is the need for students, while awaiting results, to be properly protected and supported. Cases of teenage pregnancy, prostitution, robbery, and other socially unacceptable ventures can be lowered, if graduates are properly engaged.
Actually, it is not bad for students to have some respite after going through many years of stressful academic encounters. But, the problem has to do with the form and duration of rest. A few weeks could be given for such rests, after which they can be readmitted to take short, practical and real life related courses. A final break can be given for a few weeks prior to the release of results to enable parents and wards plan effectively for the future.
In poor homes, there may be some difficulty getting students back for this extra school programme. Parents, especially in rural communities, would want their wards to assist them at their work places. It is not uncommon to see a fresh graduate head for the farm to help the parents a day or two after his/her final paper. Any child who shows incessant disobedience to parents often risks his/her chances of being supported for any further education or training. The only thing parents must guard against is the temptation to abuse their wards for income.
There is the need for the government, non-governmental organisations, corporate bodies, philanthropists, parents and other stakeholders to map out pragmatic policies and programmes to curtail the rising rates of graduate unemployment in the country.
The Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service should work on modalities that can enable unsuccessful BECE candidates to also rewrite any failed papers. I do not think the current fashion, where unsuccessful students, willing to redeem themselves to be able to continue their education, are made to rejoin the mainstream school is motivational enough. Short remedial classes should be allowed to enable students retake the affected papers at their own convenience.
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Note: an article, which appeared in this column in our Tuesday May 8, 2012 edition headed, “Sand Winning destroys arable land” was incorrect. The proper heading should have read, “Are we not one people?” we regret the error -Editor