The 2019 BECE commenced on Monday, with high hopes expressed by most of the candidates to make the required grades and to enjoy the Free SHS policy.
The BECE period certainly should be one of the most exciting times for all candidates, because with a little effort, candidates quality for the next stage of their academic cycle.
However, aside issues of examination malpractices, which unfortunately have become an annual ritual during the writing of the BECE, the phenomena of pregnant candidates is gradually raising its ugly head during the BECE period.
The Chronicle is apprehensive about the number of pregnant candidates being recorded across the various examination centers in the country.
In the Berekum West District in the Bono Region, three pregnant girls and one lactating mother are writing the BECE.
In the Tarkwa-Nsueam Municipality of the Western Region, four pregnant girls are taking part in this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) as against thirteen in 2018.
In the Agona East District, three pregnant candidates are writing the BECE as against seven recorded in 2018.
Another twelve girls are confirmed pregnant and are taking part in this year’s BECE in the Bolgatanga Municipality in the Upper East Region.
The Chronicle has gathered that one female candidate in Sissala East gave birth to a bouncy baby girl right after writing the first paper on Monday.
The candidate is said to have defied the stress related to child birth and gathered enough strength to write the next paper as soon as a caregiver offered to take care of her newborn baby.
We would not be surprised if by the close of the examination period, more stories on pregnant candidates are recorded. And that raises serious concerns which need urgent solutions.
The question The Chronicle would like to ask is – why are our final year JHS students getting pregnant?
Again, what measures should we put in place to check the trend which seems to be on the increase?
We at The Chronicle propose that the Ministry of Social Protection, School Management teams and Traditional and Religious Authorities among others must identify the causes of the alarming rate of pregnancies among BECE candidates and devise remedies.
It appears to us at The Chronicle that most of our female JHS students, especially those in the rural communities, are being left to their fate to face the harsh realities of the world. That paints a gloomy picture, if urgent steps are not taken to reverse the trend.
Another worry is how the very people who are supposed to offer protection for our young girls are the very same ones taking undue advantage of these innocent girls.
The Chronicle believes that concerted efforts should be made to safeguard our female JHS students who need our backing to progress in life and not be put through experiences that potentially could derail their academic ambitions.