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.”
In Parliament on Tuesday, the Education Minister said students in top schools did not have challenges having access to past questions and even being taught by examiners.
“But for those of us who went to these ‘mushroom schools’, past questions was something we never saw. So this is an opportunity for our students to have access to Examiner’s Report, responses to previous questions so that they can study.”
So far, 446,958 past questions at a unit price of GHS78 have been procured for the 2021 WASSCE candidates.
This is a 32 percent increase in the unit price of last year’s, a concern expressed by the Minority in Parliament.
Member for Builsa South Constituency Dr Clement Apaak, who is also the Ranking Member on Education Committee, indicated that there is cause to worry over this.
“Why government will spend GHS68,513,455.75 to buy 1,035,733 exam questions through sole source from same company two years in a row, and agree to pay for same exam questions at GHS78 per unit, when it paid GHS59 per unit only a year ago, a whopping 32% increase, begs the question,” he wrote after asking the question on the floor of Parliament.
“Interestingly, the price of textbooks used by Senior High School students have not increased over the period. So how can cost of past exam questions increased by 32% from the same supplier?”
The Minister of Education said the performance of candidates in last year’s WASSCE justifies the decision.