Wednesday, 31 August 2016


This year’s West African Senior Secondary Examination results as released by the West African Examinations Council have shown that more than half of the candidates may have to wait for another year or more to see their dream of entering into a tertiary institution come true. This is because more than 66 percent woefully failed to secure pass marks in all four core subjects, English Language, Mathematics, Social Studies and Integrated Science – a key requirement for gaining admission into any of the accredited public and private tertiary institutions in Ghana. A critical analysis of the provisional results released by the West African Examinations Council indicates a mass failure on the part of most of the candidates. A total of 274,262 candidates participated in the examinations.

According to WAEC, a total of 125,065 students obtained A1 to C6 in English Language, which is 53.19 percent while 46,595 representing 19.82 percent had F9. For Mathematics only 77,108, representing 32.83 percent obtained A1-C6, while 89,477 which represents 38.10 percent had F9. The story is not different when it comes to the other two core subjects, Social Studies and Integrated Science. To gain admission into any public or private university in the country, the National Accreditation Board requires that the candidate must score a minimum of C6 in six subjects including at least three of the core subjects. This is indeed the headache of both candidates and their parents as far as this year’s results are concerned. About 598 candidates also had their entire results cancelled, while about 2,184 candidates had issues with their results and 2,293 candidates who were identified to have cheated in English Language, Mathematics and Integrated Science had their relevant subject results cancelled. Yet still, 13 others who had their results cancelled had been barred from taking any of the council’s examinations for two years. According to WAEC, despite all the claims, the 2016 performance is a significant improvement over that of last year.

Ever since the results were released, there have been a lot of comments. According to some school of thought, the performance is as a result of the reduction in the duration of schooling from four years to three years. Perhaps, it is on that basis that a chief in the Western Region is advocating a return to the four year SHS system. But the fact remains that, no matter how long students stay in school, there may not be any change in their performance if there is no change in what goes into the teaching. In 2013, the three year students completed concurrently with the first batch of the four year SHS students, the results showed that the overall best students in the whole of West Africa was a Ghanaian, and most importantly a three year student. This simply implies that, whether three or four years, there is no much difference.

Emphasis should rather be on quality and perhaps a change in the mode of teaching. There is the need for a sustained improvement in the performance of the students in subsequent examinations. As for malpractices, stakeholders will continue to play their roles in ensuring that they are eliminated or minimized to the barest level. Those who will not attach seriousness to their studies while preparing for these examinations, but think cheating will be the shortcut to success should think twice and be ready for any punishment.

This year's Basic Education Certificate Examinations went on well without any incident of leakages. That should be the yardstick for subsequent WAEC organised examinations. Students must understand that hard work is the key to success. A word to the wise is enough.


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