Executive Director of the African Foundation for Educational Development (AFfED), Mr Ernest Kwame Adade, has said the decision by the government to purchase pass questions for students should not be lauded.
According to him, purchasing past questions seeks to abandon the cognitive development of students hence no need to welcome such a move.
His comments come after the Minister of Education , Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, has confirmed government’s purchase of past questions for candidates preparing for this year’s West Africa Senior Schools Certificate Examinations (WASSCE).
Responding to a question on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, July 14, Dr Osei Adutwum said the past questions were procured from Kingdom Books and Office Stationery at a total cost of almost GHS35 million.
This comes on the heels of a similar move last year.
That move generated controversy with a former Minister of Education , Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang , who was also a Vice Presidential Candidate in the 2020 elections , criticising it as backward.
“Achieving good results from our students cannot be achieved by buying past questions,” she said during one of her tours ahead of last year’s polls, which her party lost.
“We can only do that by grooming the children well, by supporting the teachers, by putting methods in place for strict supervision and accountability.”
The Executive Director of AFfED Mr Kwame Adade in a statement issued on Thursday July 15 2021 said spending about 4 percent of Ghana’s GDP on education as a country is laudable but processes surrounding the expenditure and the ability to put the resources into efficient use is what raises a lot of eyebrows.
“In 2019 through to 2020, government procured 568,755 past questions at a unit price of GH¢59.15 at a total of GH¢33,641,043.75. This was at the time when the 2020 WASSCE candidate were 357000 in number.
An excess of 193,755 pamphlets was realised. It baffles me that in 2021, government has procured 446,954 past questions at a unit price of Gh¢78.00 at a total of GH¢34,862,412.
“Point is, the per unit price of the past questions when calculated has shot up by GH18.85 per pamphlet using the same source of production.
“The MoE and the WAEC could have engaged other publishers other than the only one approved publisher, Kingdom Books. This would have reduced the amount invested in the procurement process.
“Clearly, the Education Ministry has not placed priority on equipping, challenging and developing the cognitive capacity of our students in the Senior High Schools but have rather taken interest in purchasing past questions which will serve good to students in just a short while rather than equipping the teachers with the adequate resources to improve teaching and learning.
“The Ministry has abandoned the primary schools under trees, poor and deadly School infrastructure and inadequate Teaching and Learning Material but investing about GH¢35m of the tax payers money into purchasing of past questions.
In actual fact providing past questions four and three months to the final exams makes little or no contribution to developing the students.
“We would not have to provide past questions if we pay attention to primary education and provide a conducive environment for teaching in the Senior High Schools.
“The general conditions for Teaching and Learning must be improved in our schools and the right facilities provided. This will contribute to developing students cognitively to meet generally approved standards.”