The West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) says the impending Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), scheduled for July 2024, faces possible cancellation due to severe funding challenges.

The council has expressed grave concerns about the government’s failure to release critical funds needed for the preparation and administration of the exams.

As the July 8, 2024 exam date approaches, time is running out for the purchase of necessary logistics.

The Director of Public Affairs at WAEC has highlighted the urgency of the situation, stressing the need for immediate financial support to avoid disruption of the exams.

Speaking on Joy FM’s, Midday News, the Director of Public Affairs at WAEC, John Kapi, said, “For BECE, we still have an outstanding payment of  ₵698,500, and then for the 2024 examination, we expect a total amount of ₵95,837,306 from the government.”

He noted that so far, the council has received ₵2,284,618, leaving an outstanding balance of ₵93,552,688 needed for the BECE.

He emphasised that the $2 million received is insufficient to facilitate the examination.

The Minority caucus on the Education Committee in Parliament first raised the issue this week, calling for a payment schedule from the government.

Ranking Member on the Education Committee, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, revealed that he proposed to the Chairman of the Education Committee that they call for a meeting with the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Education, and the national officer for WAEC to develop a roadmap for releasing funds.

He noted that this would enable WAEC to conduct the BECE and ensure they have the necessary financial resources to carry out their mandate.

“The BECE is coming on next month, and they need to prepare financially with resources to carry out their mandate. So, they need money.”

He added that the upcoming WASSCE examination in August also requires funding, hence the urgency of meeting with the various authorities to determine how money can be released to WAEC.

However, the Vice Chairman of the committee, Dr Prince Hamidu Armah, has downplayed the seriousness of the government’s indebtedness, arguing that such situations have been the status quo for the past decade.

He noted that in 2023, the government paid over ₵80 million towards the BECE, and in 2024, it has already paid ₵2.5 million plus an additional ₵6 million.

“Just to make the point that the government has demonstrated commitment towards making payments and ensuring that the examinations are conducted,”

The education and health sectors have been severely affected by persistent inflation, which stood at 23.1% as of May 2024, down from 25% in April 2024.

These sectors have reportedly seen a substantial decline recently, showing no signs of improvement.

Government Statistician, Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim emphasised the urgent need for proactive and pragmatic measures from government institutions to address the situation.