A Deputy Ranking Member on the Education Committee of Parliament Dr. Clement Apaak has disputed claims by President Akufo-Addo that the quality of education has not dipped under the free SHS policy.
Contrary to assertions by the president that the quality of education has improved through the implementation of free SHS, the lawmaker is of the view that some beneficiaries are struggling in our various universities to make good grades.
The President has opined that the free SHS had made a strong positive impact on performance in the four key subjects of English, mathematics, science, and social studies.
He pointed out that while just 33% of WASSCE candidates passed mathematics in 2016, that percentage rose to 54.1% in 2021 and that mathematics served as the foundation for many other established and developing areas.
The English Language pass rate increased from 53.8% in 2016 to 54.8% in 2021.
“Integrated Science improved from 48.5 per cent in 2016 to 65.7 per cent in 2021 and Social Studies made the same improvement from 54 per cent to 66 per cent,” he said.
Not only had more young people gotten access to education but there was a much higher rate of proficiency, the President said.
“So, how can anybody turn round and say this thing has not been good? It has been a major contribution to the future of our country,” he added.
However, Dr. Clement Apaak has fired back stating that the government orchestrated the results the president referenced and that the provision of past questions at a cost of Ghc68.5 million does not conot quality.
He said if the students had not been provided with ‘Apor’ they would have failed miserably.
He challenged the President to ask lecturers in our various universities and will discover that his assertions are far from the reality.
He also argued that if students who graduated before the implementation of the curse t government’s free SHS, they would have blown the roofs with excellent grades.
“The outcome of 68.5M PASCO cum orchestrations doesn’t connote quality. Ask lecturers in tertiary institutions what they are contending with. If students before fSHS had the same state-sponsored “Appor”, they would have blown the roofs, Mr. President.”
He also referenced a point made by Dr. Sampson Obed Appiah, a senior lecturer at the Department of Sociology of the University of Ghana that Free Senior High School, graduates are performing poorly in the university.
“The Free SHS batch that came into the university, if I tell you the things they write for us in exams, you will cry for this country. It is bad. About 80% of them are not good,” he said.
The lecturer added that “It is only when the policy implementers of today accept that what they are doing, they should listen to others. Let me give you an example, do you know that the Minister asked Grade A schools to admit students from poor backgrounds?”
He said students with an aggregate of 47 are currently offering science in some schools because of the policy, quizzing: “So how can someone with 47 be changed by a school in three years into a very good student?”
“That is why we all need to come together as Prof Addae-Mensah and Palmer-Buckle have spoken, anybody who says anything that is against what the government says is labelled as ignorant,” he said.
Dr. Apaak in supporting these assertions maintained that the quality the President alluded to, does not exist.
He emphasised the need for the government to be candid with the people and stop engaging in propaganda since the reality and challenges confronting the policy in terms of quality were obvious.