Friday, 27 August

Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa

Spending GHS34.8 million on past examination questions for senior high school students is not a misplaced priority, the Ghana Education Service (GES) has argued.

At a press briefing in Accra on Thursday, 26 August 2021, the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa said: “We can’t say that preparing students to perform well in examinations is bad. All over the world, there are three things that are done in schools: they are curriculum, instructions, and assessments”.

“When we are drawing the programmes, we usually begin by assessing them, which helps us to design the kind of curriculum that we want”.

“We go to school not to fail, so, let’s get it right”.

“At all costs, it is the responsibility of GES to ensure that people pass and pass well”.

“Our ultimate is to have 100%.”

He insisted: “It is not a misplaced priority”, adding: “If we were not doing this in the past due to limited resources, it does not mean going forward we shouldn’t. If we decide to make the school system churn out misfits, it will come back to haunt us”

At a unit price of GHS78, the government of Ghana spent GHS34.8 million to buy past questions (pasco) for candidates of the 2021 WASSCE under the Free SHS programme.

On the floor of parliament on Wednesday, 14 July 2021, Education Minister Yaw Osei Adutwum, said the current unit price is 32% more than that of 2020 – GHS59.

Dr Adutwum told the house that “to help prepare the final-year senior high school students for the 2021 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), the Ministry has procured 446,954 past West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) questions from Messrs Kingdom Books and Stationery at a unit price of GHS 78.00. The procurement will be funded from the Free Senior High School Account.”

“Mr Speaker, in 2020, the government, through its efforts to help students amidst COV1D-19 to prepare for the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), procured 568,755 past questions for students to try their hands on before sitting for the actual exams.”

The Ministry of Education, Dr Adutwum noted, “contracted Messrs Kingdom Books and Stationery to supply 568,755 WASSCE past questions at a contract price of GHS 33,641,043.75. The procurement of these questions was funded through the Free Senior High School Account and the results of the 2020 WASSCE was tremendous compared to previous years’ WASSCE performance.”

Also, he said the ministry is making efforts to buy textbooks for the lower level.

“Mr Speaker, the procurement process for the supply of published textbooks to basic schools is currently ongoing. The Ministry placed an advert in the Ghanaian Times on 1st June 2020, where various publishers approved by NaCCA, submitted their books and relevant documents to be taken through a Pre-Qualification procurement process.”

He also announced to the house that the ministry, in October 2019 “signed a contract with Messrs Bluegrass Group Limited to supply a total number of 853,009 Kapek Scientific Mathematical Instruments (SMI) prescribed by the West Africa Examination Council for Senior High Schools at a unit cost of CHS 75.00.

“The contract was amended and signed by both parties on 22 October 2020 to extend the deadline for submission of the Mathematical Instruments to 19 January 2021. Messrs Bluegrass Group Limited has supplied 416,060 Scientific Mathematical Instruments to the tune of GHS31,204,500.00 out of the total quantity to be supplied per the contract, hence breaching the contract under Section 24.1 (a) of the General Conditions of Contract (GCC). Due to this, the contract has been terminated.”