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John Dramani Mahama got it wrong on Ghana pulling out of WASSCE; Ghana still writes WASSCE

Opinion

John Dramani Mahama

5 months ago
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Former President Mahama recently chastised the government of pulling Ghana out of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

According to the former President, the action by government has led to fallen standards by the Ghanaian students in the WASSCE. Contrary to former President Mahama’s assertion, Ghana continues to write and excel in WASSCE.

1. Ghana is a founding member and continues to be a member of the five-member West African Examination Council and has not at any point in time since it joined in 1952 pulled out or attempted to pull out of the Council’s activities. Ghana hosts the Headquarters of WAEC.

2. Ghana writes West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) with all member countries.

3. Indeed, the title of the WAEC press release dated 18 Dec 2023 announcing the release of the WASSCE 2023 results is indicative of the kind of exams Ghanaian SHS students write: RELEASE OF PROVISIONAL RESULTS FOR THE WEST AFRICAN SENIOR SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION (WASSCE) FOR SCHOOL CANDIDATES
2023.

4. Ghana has not pulled out of WASSCE. Rather, in 2020, at the peak of the COVID19 pandemic and the global shutdown which affected the education sector the most, Ghana under the able leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Addo, the affable Education Minister then, indicated to WAEC, the country’s willingness to let its final year students write the WASSCE, in spite the COVID19 scare.

5. Initially the other four member countries (Nigeria, The Gambia, Serra Leone and Liberia), did not subscribe to the idea. However, Ghana managed to pull them along and got the examination written as scheduled then.

6. Ghana equally wrote the WASSCE 2021 with all four member countries using the
same time schedule.

7. In early 2022, after careful analysis and projections into the future of the effects
of the COVID19 pandemic on education, Ghana proposed a transitional academic calendar for SHS for consideration and adoption by WAEC member countries. The objective was to support students to catch up with lost contact hours – almost 12months – resulting from the COVID19 pandemic.

8. The other four member countries accepted Ghana’s transitional academic calendar in principle but indicated they had already reverted to the old school calendar – September to July – immediately after the COVID19 pandemic and therefore would write their WASSCE during the original May/June period.

9. Ghana was however permitted to operate its transitional academic calendar and subsequently wrote the WASSCE 2022 and 2023 on a different time schedule, albeit of the same standard set for all WASSCE.

10. Ghana is not the first to write WASSCE using a different time schedule. In 2014, during the peak of the Ebola outbreak, WAEC member countries Liberia and Sierra Leone were permitted to write WASSCE on a time schedule different from other member countries, albeit of the same standard.

11. All WASSCE go through international standards in terms of items development (setting the questions), writing the paper, supervision, setting the marking scheme and marking, fixing the grades and checking irregularities before the results are approved and released.

12. Ghana continues to take part in West African Examinations Council’s International Excellence Awards. In 2022, even though Ghana wrote WASSCE using a different time schedule, Ghana still participated in, and won the first and second positions of the top three awards at the International Excellence Awards
held in Banjul, the Gambia in March 2023.

13. Mr. Alex Manu and Mr. Benjamin Eyram Nana Kwame Degbey both from St. James Seminary SHS respectively won the first and second positions at the International Excellence Awards for WASSCE 2022.


 

source: Prof Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa (former DG, GES)