Kofi Asare, the Executive Director of the Africa Education Watch, has called for the regulation of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).
According to him, the regulator would ensure that the right standards are set for the Council and its operations. He explained that this will ensure that WAEC delivers on its mandate and produces “true and learned students.”
Mr Asare further averred that, this has become necessary due to WAEC’s autonomy in setting questions and marking them. Coupled with this, the Council does its own assessment of schools, students, and their results as well as examiners.
He made this revelation during an engagement by the Centre for Democratic Development Ghana (CDD-Ghana) on a post-election dialogue. Mr Asare emphasized the need for monitoring and evaluation by regulators.
Additionally, he explained that the Council’s credibility dilemma assessment systems are fraught by frequent leakages in examination questions and other malpractices.
“We need regulators for WAEC to set standards and ensure that sanctions are applied to any individual, group, or entity that fails to apply the law. These credibility gaps continue to exist because WAEC, apart from enjoying a comfortable monopoly for over 50 years, is not under any form of regulation that compels the adoption and observance of standards for the assessment and neither is it accountable as a semi-autonomous body operating under the Ministry of Education”.
Empower NCC to regulate WAEC
Mr. Asare further suggested that the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment should serve as a regulatory body for WAEC. According to him, this will help to reduce the costs involved in setting up a regulatory body.
He further stressed on the need for the country to move beyond building basic schools without Junior High facilities. Mr Asare revealed that, research shows that there are 500 primary schools without kindergartens. Out of this, some two per cent of kindergartens had nurseries. He described this situation as a contributory factor to the high numbers in the privatization of nurseries.
Complete Adaptation of Basic School Concept
Touching on basic school drop-out, he indicated that the survival rate was as low as 18 per cent by JHS 3. As such, the transition from primary to JHS posed a serious challenge to retention.
Mr. Asare explained the reason as being that, students in some rural communities without JHS commuted for long distances to school.
“In the next four years, the Ministry of Education must work to align pre-primary, primary, and JHS by completing the adaptation of the Basic School Concept where every Primary school must have a KG and JHS, all called ‘Basic School’ with one headmaster”.
Commenting on the Capitation Grant to finance the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education Policy, he revealed that it has become a huge challenge. Mr Asare further averred it has affected resource availability and learning outcomes.
According to him, system reforms and commitments were required to ensure adequate funds arrived on time.
As part of his recommendation to address this, he averred that Ghana must review the Dual Desk Policy in basic schools. This, he explained will ensure that government adopts the single desk policy in the use of dual desks in schools.