Mahama Criticized For Politicizing WASSCE Outcomes Of SHS Students

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The Flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, has faced criticism for his recent comments regarding the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

The criticisms were read out during a press event held in Accra on Tuesday, 9th April 2024 by the Bawumia Campaign Team, where Dennis Miracles Aboagye, the Director of Communications for the team, addressed Mahama’s statements.

Aboagye advised Mahama to refrain from undermining the efforts and achievements of students who sit for the WASSCE.

He emphasized the importance of acknowledging the intelligence, efforts, and sacrifices of these students, stating that such efforts should not be undermined by political interests.

“What cannot be underestimated is the intelligence of the SHS students who sit for WASSCE examination. Their efforts and sacrifices cannot be watered down because of the parochial political interest of John Mahama and NDC,” he said.

Highlighting the broader context of academic achievements in Ghana, Aboagye cited instances where Ghanaian students excelled on the international stage, including victories in prestigious competitions such as the Robofest.

These successes, he argued, demonstrate the quality of education in Ghana beyond WASSCE results.

“The quality of students produced in Ghana is not only assessed by WASSCE results, though very important. Students from Ghana who are beneficiaries of the Free SHS policy have competed in complex and competitive international competitions and have emerged winners. Prempeh College in 2023 won two world titles in the 2023 Robofest held in the USA after beating their contenders from USA, Mexico,” he argued.

Responding to allegations of examination leakages, Aboagye acknowledged historical incidents but highlighted preventive measures implemented by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).

He referenced leaked WASSCE papers in previous years and noted efforts by WAEC to address such challenges.

“For the purposes of context, allegations of examination malpractices are not new. What happens is that every year, WAEC institutes measures to curb malpractices and expose people who plan to cheat in such examinations for prosecution” he said.

For instance, in April 2015 under the watch of former president John Mahama, WASSCE papers leaked on various social media platforms before the examinations were taken but the papers were not cancelled, neither was the examination rescheduled, he explained.

“The BECE in the previous year (2015) had leaked and the measures put in place by WAEC was to print the examination papers outside Ghana and fly them to the various examination centres. Yet, the WASSCE results WAEC published in these years were considered to be good by the former president” Dennis intimated.

Aboagye also referred to Mahama’s previous statements during his tenure, urging WAEC to tackle exam leakages while recognizing the council’s independence.

Despite challenges, examinations proceeded without cancellation or rescheduling, underscoring the ongoing efforts to maintain examination integrity.

The criticism aimed at the former President and the subsequent response from the campaign team of the Vice President are part of an ongoing discourse within Ghana’s educational sector involving various political and professional stakeholders discussing appropriate policies and practices to adequately prepare Ghanaian students for contemporary challenges.

This reflects the significance placed on education as Ghana approaches the 2024 general elections.

This scrutiny from political stakeholders corroborates other debates regarding the funding of Senior High School Education.

While the government advocates for the policy to keep Senior High Schools free, the opposition argues for a review that would potentially involve parents and guardians paying up.

This ongoing dialogue underscores the importance of education in Ghana’s socio-political landscape and highlights the divergent viewpoints surrounding educational policies as the country approaches a critical decision point in the upcoming elections.

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