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Sierra Leone Prepares For School Reopening

The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) in Freetown, Sierra Leone, has released a statement on the reopening of schools on July 1, 2020, for candidates who are to take public exams at the primary, junior and senior secondary school levels.

A data of the total number of candidates who will sit for the examinations has also been officially released.

According to the Communications Unit at the MBSSE, 144,847 pupils in 5,520 schools will write the National Primary examination consisting of 71,970 boys and 72,877 girls. The figure shows 907 more girls writing the examination than boys.

For the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) at Junior secondary school, a total of 107,901 pupils in 1,538 schools will take the examination with 54,270 males and 53,731 females, showing a difference of 539 more boys who would write the test.

A total of 151,741 pupils from 549 senior secondary schools across the country are expected to write the West Africa Senior School Certificate Exams (WASSCE), with 80,038 males and 71, 703 females. The figure shows 8,335 more male students expected to write the highest level of senior school exams than females compared to the 907 females at the primary school level.

Experts say there are more girls in primary and more boys at the secondary school level because many girls do not end up furthering their education due to cultural and religious reasonswhich affect the girl child.

Meanwhile, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) in Sierra Leone has given assureance that preparations are being made with support from the government to provide the proper environment for the exams, especially by ensuring necessary COVID-19 safety protocols during the examination.

Festus Campbell, the Exams Officer at WAEC, said the protocol of social distancing would further reduce examination malpractice. He said there would have to be more centres for the exams, which was currently a challenge for the council.

However, Campbell said that WAEC and MBSSE would collaborate to find a solution to the problem before the commencement of the exams.

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