Dr. Clement Apaak, Deputy Ranking Member of Parliament’s Education Committee, has called President Akufo-Addo dishonest for claiming that the quality of secondary education has improved since the implementation of the free senior high school policy.
Dr. Apaak believes that the President’s assertion is not only dishonest but also deceptive, especially given proof that our students, whom he refers to as achieving excellent results, are struggling to achieve the fundamental standards in our higher institutions.
President Akufo-Addo has claimed that the quality of senior high school education has not declined despite the increase in enrollment due to the implementation of the free senior high school (free SHS) policy.
To support his assertion, the president indicated that prior to the creation of the policy in 2017, 51.6 percent of students recorded A1 to C6 in English in the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in 2016, as compared to the 60.39 percent recorded in 2022.
He also claimed that 61.39 percent recorded A1 to C6 in mathematics as compared to 33.12% in 2016, and 71.51% recorded A1 to C6 in social studies as compared to 54.5% in 2016.
Speaking at the 61st Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) in Accra on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, he indicated that “the 2022 WASSCE results of the third batch of Akufo-Addo graduates show 60.39 percent of students recording A1 to C6 in English as opposed to 51.6% in 2016. 62.45% recorded A1 to C6 in Integrated Science in 2022, as opposed to 48.35% in 2016, with the 2022 results being a slight regression from the 2021 pass rate of 65.7%. 61.39 percent recorded A1 to C6 in mathematics as compared to 33.12% in 2016, and 71.51% recorded A1 to C6 in social studies as compared to 54.5% in 2016.”
Dr. Apaak, however, disagreed with the president’s assertions.
He stated that several of the students he mentioned are failing to meet the 1.50 GPA in our schools.
He stated that “don’t take this from me. Several reports, particularly from Africa Education Watch, support this point.
He emphasised that, following the COVID-19 outbreak that afflicted countries in the sub-region, Ghana was the only government to chose to have a localised final year test for pupils.
The lawmaker claims that in making this choice, the system was manipulated in order to achieve positive results for the government.
He claimed that this issue is significant since the government has a subtle impact over the process because the tests are localised.
He stated that we cannot compare the results of a localised GHASSCE to the outcomes of WASSCE when pupils were assisted in answering test questions.
He alleged that there have been instances where students were handed answers to questions in our exam halls, and others were assisted to solve the questions with the aim of providing favourable results.
‘Given what I have presented, we cannot use that system to measure quality when the system is highly compromised. There were instances where answers were written on blackboards for students to copy’.
He further alleged that the government has developed a system for assessing the performance of secondary schools, and in some instances, headmasters are threatened or humiliated at meetings if their schools do not perform well.
In view of this, the system has been compromised, and students are assisted in answering questions during their final exams.
He has therefore challenged the president to deny these claims since evidence abounds about students with stellar grades from secondary schools who are struggling to cope with university education.
“So you cannot boast about stellar grades when clearly quality is not demonstrated by the competence and capacity of the students.”
He said some tertiary institutions are planning to introduce entrance examinations for applicants since they can no longer contend with students with stellar grades from our secondary schools only to come to the university and smuggle with basic english construction.
He also disclosed that the National Teaching Council had appeared before the education committee seeking approval of GH¢7 million for an entrance examination for students who applied to the teacher training colleges.
While speaking in an interview with Radio Gold, he said that when proved further on why the request for that amount was made, Christian Addai Poku, who heads the Council, told the Committee that the extrance exams were to serve as a means to ensure that students who are admitted into our teaching colleges meet the minimum competencies to be trained as teachers.
According to him, this proposal was known to the cabinet, and so the president cannot come out and make claims that the quality of education has improved under his watch.
By: Rashid Obodai Provencal/Rainbowradioonline.com/Ghana