GES asked to absorb examination fees of prisoners

The Ghana Education Service (GES) has been asked to take steps towards absorbing the registration fees of prisoners writing their Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). Founder of Filial Heart Foundation, Dr Ernest Puni Kwarko, who made the call, noted that most inmates are unwilling to enroll in formal education programs due to financial constraints. He made this call at the Kumasi Central Prisons on Saturday, November 10, while presenting an undisclosed amount of money to support the registration of thirteen (13) inmates of the Central Prisons who will be writing both BECE and WASSCE in 2019. Dr. Kwarko therefore reiterated the need for government to waive the registration fees for prison inmates writing BECE and WASSCE. “Currently, prison inmates who register for BECE and WASSCE register under distant learning program, so technically their registration is not covered by the Ghana Education Service. “I am appealing to GES to take steps in regularizing their registration and make it part of government’s free registration for BECE and WASSCE candidates,” Dr. Kwarko said. Seven of the thirteen inmates whose fees were catered for, will be writing WASSCE whilst the remaining six will sit for BECE next year. The beneficiaries could not register to write their final examinations in 2017 due to financial constraints. Head of Education Unit at the Kumasi Central Prisons, CSP Nana Kofi Antwi II, commended Dr. Kwarko for the timely intervention. “Some of these inmates hardly get people to visit them, so it is a challenge for them to get money to pay for their registration fees,” he said. Some beneficiary inmates expressed their preparedness to write the 2019 WASSCE. 31-year old Stephen Newman, who is serving a jail term of twelve years, completed Senior High School in 2005 with poor grades who intends to restore his academic fortunes. “Having this chance, I want to use it wisely so that I can further my education and achieve my ambition of becoming a computer engineer,” Stephen stated. Another inmate, 34-year old Philip Owusu Agyei is serving a jail term of nine years and has already served 2 years. Philip is an SHS drop out but has decided to further his education whilst in prison. “When I get chance to write my exams, I know I will come out with flying colours to further my education when I am out,” he noted. The Ghana Prisons Service has technical and non-technical educational programs for inmates. CSP Nana Kofi Antwi, however noted that inadequate classroom facilities and materials for teaching and learning is an impediment to the expansion of their programs. Since the inception of formal education for prison inmates in 2012, a total of 40 inmates have successfully passed out with some students pursuing higher education at the University for Development Studies, GIMPA and some Colleges of Education.

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By Ibrahim Abubakar || Ghana]]>