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Unfair BECE registration: Free for Public schools, full cost for private schools

Facts about BECE registration

Before 2018, candidates for the BECE paid less than Ghs37.00 for the exams. This amount was paid by both private and public school candidates. This has been the practice since the inception of the JSS which changed to JHS. The fees were subsidized by the government to lessen the burden of parents across the board.

 When the government decided to absorb the registration fee starting from 2018,  it decided to increase the fee by almost 100% for private schools whiles the public schools got 200% decrease in what they pay.

Each candidate sitting for the exams is paying GHS77.00 in 2019 to the government to write a maximum of 9 subjects. A simple arithmetic shows that each candidate will be paying GHS8.55 per subject for the 
exams to be conducted in June 2019.

This is too expensive for this level. How much does a photocopy cost per page? Don’t be quick to argue that, there are other expenses. Yes, there are, however, the large-scale production of exams materials even further reduces the cost of printing due to the economics of scale. 

It is an undeniable truth that, not all public basic school pupils are Ghanaians and the same can be said about private schools. Another truth is that private schools are not attended by “children from rich homes” and geographical issues such as the closeness of a private school to a child’s home can compel parents to enrol the child.

The overcrowding in public basic schools is another major reason why parents may opt for private basic schools for their wards. There are parents whose wards are in public schools but they may be well to do than others who have their wards in private schools as well. 

Free for Public schools, full cost for private schools

In some instance, the level of supervision, seriousness attached to academic work and the dedication of owners of schools, and teachers to the attainment of academic excellence in private schools can all significantly influence parents to enroll their wards in private schools.

Free BECE registration, a preserved right of public schools is not just. If pupils educated in both private and public basic schools are Ghanaian children who will one day become useful to this nation, government’s intention to absorb their BECE registration should affect all pupils irrespective of whether they attend private or public schools. They are all Ghanaian children first of all and must be treated equally.  None of them chose to attend private schools and must not suffer for that.

What is the good in paying for the exams fee of a non-Ghanaian child in a public school and making a Ghanaian parent pay for the exams of his/her ward becuase the child attends a private school? 

There is a misfit between free examination and Free SHS. Pupils who pass the BECE are from both private and public basic schools across the country and so they enrolled in the secondary school under the Free SHS and the double track system of government.

Free for Public schools, full cost for private schools

Government at one stage of the process of enrolling pupils into the SHS charges a section for the exams then provides free SHS at no cost to both those who paid for the exams and those who took it free. 

The free registration for public school candidates is bias and unfair. If all Ghanaian children deserve free compulsory universalbasic education, then the policy is flawed and does not meet the definition of the FCUBE.

Some may argue, making it free for public schools has saved many parents and also made it easy for pupils in deprived communities and unfavourable situations to also sit for the exams. This also holds for some persons in some of the so called private schools as well.  

BECE registration fee brouhaha

Government in 2018 decided to make the BECE registration free and a preserved rights of public school pupils without probably taken a critical look at the issues tabled above so far.

The BECE that our children in both public and private schools will write, is not an issue of whether you attend a private school or a public school. This in itself is a decision parents have taken as to where they want to enroll their children.

The BECE is about the life of the candidate and his or her education progression. It is not about whether they attend private or public basic schools.

If the government deems it wise to charge pupils who attend private schools for writing the exams and absorb the full cost on behalf of pupils in public schools, it is rather unfortunate. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Let me ask. Are private school candidates paying on behalf of public school candidates looking at the GHS77.00 (GHS8.55) per paper? 

Bece candidates to go back to 

Free for Public schools, full cost for private schools

There is no equity and fairness in the implementation of this policy. These pupils are going to enter the Senior High School in 2019 for free. It is also prudent that, they all pay or no one pays for the exams.

Government hunted by its own no fee policy

Government has taken the decision to foot the bill of candidates probably because of its own policy at the public schools which does not require head teaches and their teachers to charge parents any fee for anything. Because of this, Ghana in the 21st century has some public schools where teachers have to copy questions on the board during the end of term exams.


Any headteacher found charging unapproved fees may have to face the music. Come to think of it. The total quality standard in our education sector needs to be taken a look at again.

Government must move from this free things slogan to the point where parents are paid decent wages and salaries. This way, they can make choices for their wards education, health and also be empowered to choose.

We urge the minister and the ministry of education as well as GES to critically take a second look at the free for Public schools, full cost for private schoolsssues at hand and threat all BECE candidates fairly.

Wisdom is an ambitious optimist who believes in venturing out to create and to revolutionize the world a post at a time, writing to educate, inspire, entertain, influence and start thought-provoking debates on varied topics.

He loves writing, a skill he developed as a pupil at the University Staff Basic School, Legon, Accra. He has never looked back.

He authored "Returnees of the Dead Forest" in the UK with Xlibris Publishing House. in 2013

When others see the challenges of today, Wisdom sees the successes of tomorrow in a world filled with opportunities. He holds the belief that today's genuine efforts, dreams and aspirations will become rewarding.

Wisdom is currently studying Mphil. Leadership. He enjoys writing, blogging, playing football, public speaking and teaching.

Contact Ghanaeducationnews.com or Wisdom for your school's news coverage or promotion of school-related events, advertisements and publications.

Wisdom believes in partnership, teamwork and networking.

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