Heard about the 60-year-old grandmother sitting this year’s BECE?

Elizabeth Yamoah may not be a name you’re too familiar with.

Today however, that name is trending in Ghana for known reasons. It is highly unusual, in some cases, even impossible for people to sit in the same classroom with others young enough to be their grandchildren.

It was thus a shock to many when the story of a 60-year-old woman sitting for the ongoing Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) hit the internet.

Elizabeth Yamoah is said to be the oldest candidate writing this year’s BECE in Ghana.

She is a pupil of Agona Odoben Presby Junior High School in the Central Region.

The 2020 BECE started on Monday September 14 with over 500,000 candidate.

BECE starts today as over 500,000 students sit exams

The 60-year-old became a subject for discussion on social media after pictures of her in a Presbyterian JHS uniform went viral. Though some Ghanaians are questioning the motivation behind the old woman’s decision to seek basic education at her retirement age, Elizabeth’s story is seen by many, including non-citizens, as an inspiring one.

Several messages of encouragement are pouring in from all walks of life for the candidate.

LinkedIn user Lina Sappor wrote, “Inspiring! Do not relent, soldier on ! Elizabeth, close your ears to the naysayers and just concentrate on your dream. Your limit lies beyond the sky. You know, I started my BSc programme when I was 39 years old. I hitherto closed my ears to the scores of discouraging comments from people I now know were actually envious of my zeal. I worked hard enough, graduated with BSc Honours and was called back for an MBA. The years flipped by like magic and here I am now with a PhD added to my credentials. The funny thing is that with all the noise about me being too old (39years) to go to university, I was the youngest in the room allotted me together with two other mature women aged 47 and 49 years old… all of us new entrants. The Lord is good! Always.”

Another user is actually looking for ways to support Madam Elizabeth when she graduates from Junior High School after her last paper on Friday September 18, 2020.

“I wonder how I can support her, so many in the so call “western world” should learn from her. She is Breaking Barriers! Age doesn’t define one in pursuit of knowledge,” the user stated.

Reacting to the story on linkedIn, Helen McGuigan, Lead Consultant at Simply Education Ghana also commended the “adult pupil” for attending school at her age. But she, faulted Ghana’s education system for prescribing the same uniform girls wear for the old woman.

She writes, “Wonderful that she is doing this but there is something fundamentally wrong with a system where you require a 60 to woman to wear a school girls uniform. Why can’t the system recognise people’s wishes and hopes to further they education without treating them like children. We are losing so much talent.”

Below are few of the reactions to Elizabeth’s story

Age is an attitude, this shows in her determination and willingness to learn. I prefer to find and befriend people who believe that Age is an attitude – this shows a growth mindset. People who believe Age is a number – have a fixed mindset.

As inspiring as this is, is there no form of adult education to bridge this gap??

This is totally not useful, the system is not functional…. It’s a mere waste of time, efforts and resources! Mama improve whatever skill you were occupied with and specialise you still gone live a better life with some good mentors!

Meet Madam Elizabeth Yamoah the oldest BECE candidate in Ghana.


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