2021 WASSCE: Why spend GHS34.8m on ‘pasco’ when 2020’s still available – Apaak to GES

The Member of Parliament for Builsa South, Dr Clement Apaak, is questioning why the Ghana Education Service (GES) has spent GHS34.8 million on another set of questions and examiners’ reports for this year’s WASSCE candidates when those purchased last year, at a cost of GHS33.6 million, are with the schools for use.

According to Dr Apaak, the government has spent GHS68,513,455.75 so far, on past questions for WASSCE candidates, which started with the 2020 candidates, the very first batch of Free Senior High School students.

The lawmaker said the guarantee to success of students in exams are curriculum, instructions and assessment but the most important among the three is instruction.

“One can have a good curriculum but if instruction is not adequate and of quality, no genuine assessment will yield good results. When instruction is not effective, learning will not be effective, and students will try foul means, such as copying and sending foreign materials into the exam rooms to secure success at the exams,” he said in a statement.

Explaining why the government has resorted to buying past questions for students, Dr Apaak noted that since the introduction of the Free Senior High School policy, the government has failed to provide a conducive atmosphere for effective teaching and learning in secondary schools with “erratic academic calendar, obnoxious double-track system that makes students stay many months at home, inadequate and irregular release of funds, inadequate food to feed students, overloading of teachers with work among others.”

It is for this reason that Dr Apaak said the government started the policy of buying and supplying past examination questions and examiners’ reports for students to “assist them prepare for WASSCE or try their hands on before writing WASSCE”.

He noted that although he is opposed to the policy, “we are still obligated to ensure that there is value for money in the utilisation of GH₵34,862,412 to buy past questions and examiners’ reports intended to help students pass WASSCE 2021.”

To this end, Dr Apaak is demanding answers to the following questions:

1) Why purchase another set of questions and examiners’ reports this year, at GH₵78 per set (446,958 sets at GH₵34.8 million), when those purchased last year, at a cost of GH₵59 per set (568,755 sets at GH₵33.6 million) are with the schools?

2) Why were/are the questions and examiners’ reports being given to students after they have started (August 16th 2021) 2021 final WASSCE exams, if the intent is for students to use them to prepare for WASSCE and or try their hands on before writing WASSCE?

3) Why have some schools still not been supplied with the questions 14 days (16th August 2021) after the start of WASSCE if the purpose for spending GH₵34.8 million on the purchase of 446,958 sets of past questions and examiners’ reports was to help students prepare for WASSCE 2021?

4) Why have some schools been given soft copies of the past questions and examiners’ reports to print out themselves when according to the Minister for Education on the floor of Parliament, these materials were bounded into book form at a set price of GH₵78? Where are these schools expected to get the money to use in printing the questions and examiners’ reports; and

5) Why were Headmasters/Headmistresses summoned to meetings with GES Officials and the Minister of Education just a few days to the commencement of the 2021 WASSCE and forced to sign so called “Performance Contracts”?

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