Again, Ghanaian pupils sweep laurels at WAEC's awards

2015-03-27
THE PUNCH Newspaper- Charles Abah

When the leadership of the West African Examinations Council announced on Tuesday that Ghanaians occupied the first three overall positions in the 2014 WASSCE, not many industry watchers found that surprising.

For discerning educationists, Ghana for five years now has been leading other member countries in the regional examinations.

Precisely between 2008 and 2013, pupils from the country have won the International Excellence Awards instituted in 1984 by WAEC to celebrate academic excellence back to back.

Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia are member-nations of the examination body.

Appraising the dominance of Ghana in the examination, an educationist and Chairman Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union Mr. Taiwo Olayanju, says he is not surprised about the development.

Olayanju, who says that the quality of education in the country is going down, however, lays the blame on the doorstep of all Nigerian stakeholders.

According to him, teachers, parents, pupils and even the government have a share in the blame.

For instance, the craze for certificates instead of quality education, Olayanju, who teaches at the Federal College of Education (Technical) Akoka, Lagos, is at the root of decadence in the nation’s education sector.

He adds, “Many Nigerian parents and their children are only interested in acquiring certificates not minding about qualitative education. They are interested in having good grades that they cannot defend, so with this why would pupils from countries, such as Ghana not beat them in a competitive examination.

“Besides, the authorities and the government are not helping matters. In Nigeria, there are myriad of problems facing her education sector. If it is not poor funding, it is inadequate infrastructure and poor learning environment. Also, the frequent strikes in the sector are contributing to the poor quality of education in the country.”

But the Chairman, Lagos State Nigerian Union of Teachers, Mr. Segun Raheem, sees the dominance from a different perspective. In his thinking, it will be wrong to judge pupils from Nigeria and Ghana or any other country using the same parameter.

He notes, for instance, that the curricula in Nigeria are not the same with that of Ghana and so their evaluation will differ.

He adds, “I do not agree with those who think that the standard of education in Ghana is better than that of Nigeria. In passing judgment in a certification issue as this, one has to consider so many indices. Consideration is given to issues bordering on enrolment, curriculum and evaluation, among others.”

Besides, he notes that examination is not the true text of knowledge.

Meanwhile, 18-year-old Hasan emerged the overall best candidate having scored a total grade of 682.0933 in eight subjects, including English Language.

The youngster, who attended the Ghana Secondary Technical School, Takoradi between 2011 and 2014, with examination number 0040104251, also obtained A1 in Mathematics (Core), Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Integrated Science, Social Studies and Mathematics (Elective).

On the second position is 19-year-old Blaykyi. The youngster, who had his senior secondary education at the St Augustine’s College Cape Coast, between 2011 and 2014, had a total score of 680.4287.

Master Archibald with a cumulative score of 676.9348 also posted an excellent result in all his eight subjects to come third in the examination.

In a related development, the WAEC National Office in Nigeria on Thursday inaugurated its Customer Service Centre in Lagos.

A private firm, the Media Concepts International Limited, presented the facility to WAEC.

The Council’s HNO, Mr. Charles Eguridu, who spoke on the occasion, said the initiative was to support an efficient service delivery, especially in customer service relationship.

According to him, the centre will add value to the educational aspirations of the Nigerian child.

He added, “The vision of the council is to be a world-class examining body adding value to the educational goals of its stakeholders. It is heart-warming to note that the problem of delay in response to candidates’ enquiries will soon fade away as it is now possible for a crop of our trained members of staff and candidates to interact real time.

“I am sure that our candidates will make the best use of the centre. It is also my hope that this centre will facilitate a favourable interface between the council and its various publics.”

The Managing Director of Media Concept, Mr. Babatope Agbeyo, said the firm was committed to supporting the council in achieving its overall customer relationship management strategy.

He said, “The centre is a genuine demonstration of the council’s resilience in resolving candidates’ complaints timely irrespective of their geographical location. It further enhances the existing cordial relationship and trust between the council and the candidates.”

 

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