SHS students writing the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE)

Former Education Minister, Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang has indicated that the high performance recorded by Ghanaian students in the 2020 West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) could be spurious.

The former Vice Chancelor of the University of Cape Coast, who was sharing her views on JoyNews’ The Probe on Sunday, June 6 said, “I am putting the information out there and it’s not for me to conclude. If you have a class, and the students are saying we don’t have the text books, the science students are saying we don’t have reagents, we’ve never gone to the lab, we don’t even know what the chemistry lab looks like, the chemistry teacher is saying the same, it’s been two years my students have never been to the lab, and all of a sudden you are told that that student had an A, what will be your own conclusion.”

Her comments were in reaction to President Akufo-Addo’s assertion that about 60% of the 342,500 candidates who wrote the WASSCE, representing over 200,000, scored between A1 and C6 in their best six subjects, including English and Mathematics, which qualifies them for tertiary education.

He therefore applauded the students, who happened to be the first batch of beneficiaries of the Free Senior High School policy, for the excellent results saying it had shamed those who claimed the policy was not achievable.

She noted that, students had complained about unavailability of textbooks, among other issues, “did we not hear of students saying no, this is not what we were told would come in the exams, not in one school, not in two schools, too many schools to count and that was very disturbing.

“So if the same students who were saying these, directing unacceptable words at adults, now have A’s, what am I supposed to believe, or were they just acting,” she quizzed.

The 2020 Running mate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer said such matters are of serious concerns and must be addressed as such.

“Because it is about the human development of your country, and those kids may not be working now, they may be working later. The kind of preparation you give is very important,” she noted.

“Maybe they are very happy that everybody had an A, that’s their problem but let us get serious,” she added.

She observed that every teacher will be happy should their student get an ‘A’, but it should be an ‘A’ which is earned “because they are not just getting the ‘As’ for the fun of it.

“When you go for an interview, they will just look at your transcript, nobody would talk about it anymore. And when you get the job, we will not care whether you had first-class or not, [rather] are you performing, and how you can perform or not perform depends on how well you learnt.”

The Former Sector Minister indicated that examination forms part of the preparation process to enable one face to the job market and the world after school.

“You are being taught something so you use it, and that is where the innovation comes in, that is where the new ideas come because you are applying what you are being taught.”

She, therefore, urged students to refrain from the perception of examination as a ‘chew and pour’ venture, adding that teachers should also assess the medium they use in teaching to ensure students understand what is taught to enable them to apply appropriately.