Under the new system, secondary education is divided into junior and senior secondary schooling. After six years of primary schooling, the student spends three years in junior secondary school and another three years in senior secondary school. Junior secondary school (JSS) is the final part of formal basic education. It provides a broad-based general education to students between the ages of 12 and 15 years that will enable them to enter senior secondary school, vocational and technical education, or the workforce. The courses offered at this level are divided into core subjects, which are compulsory for all JSS students, and electives, which are chosen for study by the students with the help of their guidance counselors and parents.
Some of the aims of junior secondary education are to introduce subjects encouraging the development of nationally desired and marketable skills and the provision of training in community awareness and community responsibility. At the end of junior secondary school, students take the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), conducted by the West African Examinations Council. Continuous assessment forms part of each student's final grade.
Senior secondary school (SSS) is the final stage of the secondary school education; it is a three-year program for students between the ages of 15 and 18 who have completed the JSS course and obtained the required BECE grades. This level contains an element of specialization, preparing the student for university education or a professional school or any other postsecondary institution. There are two kinds of senior secondary schools—general and specialist. The general secondary school operates a comprehensive curriculum, while the specialist secondary school caters to students whose interests and aptitudes are for such specialized subject areas as science and mathematics, technology, liberal arts, and business studies. In general, students at this level are offered a set of core (compulsory) subjects and some optional subjects. At the end of senior secondary school, a student takes the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE). A student's grade at this examination, together with the student's continuous assessment grade, determines the student's final grade for this level.
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