Education Minister rubbishes claims 72% students failed WASSSCE

Education Minister, Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang has dismissed reports that 72% of students who sat the 2014 West Africa Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSSCE), failed.

According to her, the 72% only failed to obtain a credit of C6 in at least six subjects. That is not a total failure, she insisted.

Her comment comes a day after a flagbearer-hopeful of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) Nana Akufo-Addo criticized the government for plunging the education sector into crisis, citing the latest WASSCE.

Addressing party delegates in the Volta Regional capital, Ho Monday, the two-time flagbearer of the NPP said 72% of the candidates who sat the WASSCE failed to obtain grades A1 to C6 in six of their subjects including Mathematics and English.

“7 out of the 10 children have failed the WASSCE and cannot get access to tertiary institutions. What this means is that after taken them through kindergarten, primary school, junior high and senior high, these kids end up with no certificate,” he said.

Speaking on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM Tuesday, August 26, 2014 Prof. Opoku Agyemang however, said the claim as inaccurate.

“I’m sorry, 72% did not fail,” the Minister told Show host, Kojo Yankson.

She added that: “The 72% we are talking about are students who got less than six credits…Of course it is not a fail”.

Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang maintained that the minimum pass mark in the WASSSCE is a credit in six subjects including English language, Mathematics, Integrated Science and Social Studies.

This year, 37,985 candidates scored above C6 representing 28.10% of the total number of 242,162 candidates who sat for the exams. That is a marked improvement in what was recorded in 2013 which saw 48,000 representing 19.15% of the 409,711 candidates who took part in the WASSSCE last year obtaining credit in six subjects, she said.

According to the Education Minister, “3.70% failed or didn’t get C6” in all subjects, a situation she said has prompted investigations from her outfit in order to reduce the figure.

Meanwhile, the Minister says she was misrepresented in the media regarding her call for teachers to desist from using English language to teach pupils at the basic level.

The Ghanaian Times newspaper reported that Prof. Opoku Agyemang had directed heads and teachers of basic schools to desist from the use of the English language as the sole medium of instruction in the classrooms.

But she clarified that, her call was for heads and teachers of basic schools to use L1 (mother tongue) and not English Language as the medium of instruction in the classrooms as prescribed by the Ghana Education Service.

“Look at this 6-year-old leaving home for the first time to school and being taught in a language that he has no idea of. What type of learning can take place in the life of such a person?

“It is when the L-1 [first language] is solid then you can add a second language,” she explained.

She condemned the notion held by a section of the public that teaching children in vernacular at pre-school could lower their ability to grasp the English language- the international medium – when they move up the education ladder.

“All we are saying is that if we start the second language too soon [then] how he is going to share what he’s learn with the parent.

“It’s just that it’s our history that has brought us this far…Why do we think speaking another language is the only means of testing intelligence? Story by Ghana | | Jerry Tsatro Mordy | [email protected]

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