Minority spokesperson on education, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, has iterated calls for government to release outstanding arrears to the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to expedite marking of scripts and release of results.
According to him, some GHC98 million arrears from BECE is owed by government, although only GHC20 million has been released to WAEC, with the balance outstanding. He noted that WAEC has had to go into credit agreement with other suppliers to ensure marking of scripts.
“We recall that WAEC conducted two examinations this year. The first was for the Basic Certificate Examination (BECE) and the WASSCE. Now, the BECE was conducted in August and by now, marking should have been completed.
“But as we speak today, government has not been able to release any money to WAEC for the purposes of conducting, marking and compiling of the results for the BECE. Gratefully, the examiners are on the process now, after the coordination, then they are marking…”Peter Nortsu-Kotoe
Furthermore, Mr Nortsu-Kotoe noted that when it comes to the senior high school level, the arrears go as far back as the conduct of the 2022 examination.
He noted that an amount of GHC10.5 million is yet to be paid to WAEC, and “per our records, and my investigation have shown that that money is still outstanding”.
“So, if about GHC138 million is owed WAEC for the WASSCE, I don’t know what government is trying to tell us. As a matter of urgency, government must release money to WAEC for these purposes. They need not less that GHC50 million for the marking of the BECE and the Ghana WASSCE.”Peter Nortsu-Kotoe
Disruption of academic calendar
Meanwhile, Mr Nortsu-Kotoe emphasized that the delay in the release of funds to WAEC is bound to impact on the academic calendar of the BECE candidates. By this, he explained that WAEC is finding it difficult to have the “morality” to convince examiners to mark.
“Because last year, it was this year they paid them, so what is the guarantee they’re going to pay very soon? Then again, it is going to affect the release of results. By now, they should have finished the marking… But all that is delaying. Meanwhile, the GES has a plan to revert to the old system by October.
“They could have gone back to school but as we speak now, it is not going to be possible because if this is the middle of October, by the time they finish the compilation and release of the results, then the selection of the candidates for the various senior high schools, I don’t think they can finish all that before the end of the year. So, definitely, first years will probably go to school in January or February…”Peter Nortsu-Kotoe
Moreover, Mr Nortsu-Kotoe lamented the lack of prioritization of education by the government. He highlighted that government seems to have the means to cater for other “frivolous expenditures”, and not the payment of arrears to WAEC.
“Why can’t they get money to pay? It’s a matter of priority and ability to go by the timetable, because other sectors have received monies. So, why are you withholding money meant for the ministry of education and WAEC?”Peter Nortsu-Kotoe
It will be recalled that in July this year, the minority in Parliament issued a warning that the smooth conduct of the 2023 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) is at risk unless the government promptly clears all outstanding debts owed to the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).
It expressed concern that WAEC urgently requires over GH₵50 million to settle its financial obligations and ensure the seamless organization of the 2023 examinations.