Professor Kwesi Yankah, the Minister of State In charge of Tertiary Education, has toured seven Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) centres to encourage candidates to write to the best of their ability and pass the examination despite the COVID-19 restrictions.
A total of 2,085 candidates made up of 1,036 males and 1,049 females are writing the five-day examination.
Three of the 10 absentee candidates were reported to be pregnant.
Prof Yankah was accompanied by Mr Dennis Armah-Frempong, the District Chief for Agona East, Mrs Golda Andam, Headmistress of Swedru Senior High School and some directors of education.
The centres visited were the Swedru Senior High School, Agona Asafo AEDA JHS, Agona Kwanyako Secondary Technical School, Mankrong-Junction AEDA JHS and Namawura Community Senior High School, Nsaba Presbyterian Senior High School.
Mr Yankah, who is also the New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary candidate for Agona East, said this was the first time in the examination's history that candidates had to go through strict health and safety protocols before writing.
Professor Yankah said it was sad that they had to uncomfortably wear nose masks but it was for their own safety to check the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He gave the assurance that the free education policy from kindergarten to senior high school would continue unabated and urged the candidates to excel to be admitted into Grade 'A' schools to pursue secondary education.
He said the good news was that the Government had decentralised educational scholarship scheme to the districts to ease the struggle parents in rural areas went through to gain access to scholarship for their children.
The Minister said the District scored 20 per cent in 2017, 60 per cent in 2018 and 60 per cent in 2019 in the BECE and expressed the hope that it would score 100 per cent in 2020.
Mr Dennis Armah-Frempong, the DCE, advised the candidates against sending foreign materials into the examination hall as it could lead to cancellation of their papers and wished them the best in the exams.