Until the commencement of the flagship Free Senior High School (FSHS) in 2017, the use of past questions as a tool for preparation towards the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) was the sole responsibility of parents and their wards. Sometimes, teachers, as part of their efforts to guide their students to success, procure these learning materials through their own arrangements.
When the first batch of the FSHS candidates were sitting for their final exams, a politically motivated arrangement was introduced by the government to assist in procuring past questions for all the candidates across the country, something that has never been a problem for parents. This unnecessary intervention cost the nation over 33 million Ghana cedis in 2020.
The number of copies dashed out to students were matched exactly to the total number of all candidate; 568,755.
Fast-forward to this year, the same process is under way. The government is again using the taxpayers millions of cedis to repeat last year's purchase. A unit cost of 78 Ghana cedis for 446,954 candidates has been budgeted to purchase past questions for these students for 2021 WASSCE.
This move has given rise to many questions. Prominent among these questions is asking what happened to last year's past questions? Mind you, these questions are compiled in a book form, and distributed through all the Secondary school to the candidates.
These books are not disposable items, and using for a few months before the final examination will definitely not render them useless. A simple arithmetic indicates that, Ghana will use spend close to 35 million Ghana cedis on past questions this year.
This presupposes that, another recurrent expenditure has been added to the overloaded public budget; the purchase of past questions. I find this very insensitive.
There might be other reasons why this procurement will be going on in the education sector other than a pure intent of helping students to pass. These politicians can do anything for their selfish gain.
I propose that, we must be keeping these past questions intact by retrieving all from the candidates after their final papers. We will then only have to update it by adding questions from the immediate past year. Textbooks given out to students by school libraries have means of issuing and taking them back without stress. The same can be applied here.
The purchase of past questions to each candidate at this cost every year is unsustainable. Using public funds for this purpose is reckless and shows lack of produce. Let us stop it.
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