The 2018 edition of the West African Secondary School Examinations (WASSCE) started on Tuesday.
Almost 317,000 students have been officially registered to take the exams across Ghana beating the number of registered students in the last two years which had 289,207 candidates for 2017 and 274,255 candidates for 2016.
With the consistent cancellation of papers in recent years, the start of every WASSCE brings some apprehension among parents and the concerned public as to what is going to happen before the exams end.
This leads to questions as to whether Ghanaian students should still be made to write WASSCE or not.
YEN.com.gh explores some of the possible reasons why some members of the public feel Ghana should opt out of the WASSCE which is administered by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and written by second-cycle students in Anglophone West Africa.
1. Consistent leakages of papers:
Since WASSCE started in 2005, there have been very few years in which no exam leakages have been reported.
In fact, exam leakages have become the norm rather than the exception.
Even though the West African Exams Council (WAEC), assured on Tuesday that there will be no leakages this year, there are already reports that the Chemistry practical paper students wrote had surfaced online before the exam begun.
2. Credibility of the exams:
With such a high number of leakages, WASSCE's credibility has suffered badly.
There are many Ghanaians who feel it is a waste of time to 'force' students to undertake an exam which has little or no credibility.
3. WASSCE is not tailored to Ghana:
Before 2005, Ghanaian students were writing the Senior Secondary Certificate Exams (SSCE).
Though administered by WAEC, the SSCE was considered as a far better option to the WASSCE.
This is because the exams were specifically made for Ghana and there were very few problems compared to the WASSCE.
4. The WAEC concept is outmoded:
There are some who have questioned why there should be only one body presiding over exams in Ghana and other countries.
According to them, such a concept is outmoded and WAEC would have done better if there had been competing exam bodies.
President of NAGRAT, Angel Karbonu seems to support this argument.
“That concept where examinations are written internationally among all the West African countries is archaic and outmoded… You don’t get into any modern jurisdiction or into Europe and you have all the European countries writing the same examination from the same company or the same institution,” he once stated in an interview.
5. A general shift from certificate-based education:
There have been calls over the years for an overhaul of Ghana's educational system which is said to be too focused on 'passing exams' than equipping students to live after school.
Veteran educationist, Annis Haffar one of the people who subscribe to this school of thought.
In the midst of a recent WASSCE leakage, Mr Haffar pointed out that it was about time Ghana moved away from the current system.
“We have a linear type of education in this country where we assume that we can do the best for our children by taking them through the lower primary, upper primary, junior high school, senior high school, university level and, at the end of it, give them a paper certificate.
“What we are doing is that we are directing everyone to go and get a certificate but the focus should not just be on the certificate but skill development as a result of schooling,” he stated.
In the video below, the deputy education minister, Mrs Barbara Ayisi, speaks on how President Akufo-Addo inspires her, and how the president's success story must also inspire the youth of Ghana to greater heights:
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