Adutwum to Opoku-Agyemang: Mind your language

Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the minister of education, has cautioned Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, vice-presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2020 elections, to be measured in her assertions on Free SHS programme.

Prof Opoku-Agyemang in an interview with Woezor TV questioned why Ghanaians are celebrating the outstanding performance of the SHS students in the 2020 WASCCE exams.

“We have also heard and seen students who wrote an exams, came out and it was like, you know we had an earthquake in this country, it wasn’t like one school or two schools … this same group performance is supposed to be outstanding that we shouldn’t be talking, it is the group I am referring to,” she said.

She added: “And they went and wrote the exams we heard of the leakage of the exams, we heard of invigilators being compromised, we heard many many things and we also saw the students come out and speak about, ‘no this is not we were told will happen’, now these students have As and we are happy? It is up to us.”

Be measured

Reacting to the news, the education minister said the claims by Prof Opoku-Agyemang have dire implications.

“We don’t have to say things that we cannot substantiate… When you speak, the world listens and I plead with the Honourable minister [Naana Jane] that she should measure her words carefully when talking about WASSCE and WAEC, an international organisation…” he said on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana show.

He added: “Under her watch as the minister of education in 2015, 23.9% of the students obtained Al to C6 in Maths; under Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in the midst of COVID-19, these students courageously sit for the exams and obtain a score of 66.05% and madam, the least you can do is commend the hardworking teachers, headmasters [and mistresses] of this nation who supported these students through thick or thin in the midst of COVID-19, they did the impossible.

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“…They did so well and instead [of] commending them, you look at these young men and women and tell them that they cheated. WAEC has an algorithm to detect students who have cheated and catch them every year.”

“Let me tell you what this Honourable minister [Naana Jane] has taken for granted is that when you speak in Ghana, you speak to the entire globe because of what she said, some students may not get scholarships to certain universities around the world because they are going to look at them and say you’ve cheated you don’t deserve to get the scholarship from us,” Adutwum said.

Unfortunate comment

Meanwile, the Ghana Education Service (GES) has described as “unfortunate” attempt by Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang to attribute the excellent ‘Free SHS’ WASSCE results to leaked papers.

Speaking to Nana Yaa Mensah on The Asaase Breakfast Show on Tuesday 1 June, Dr Kwabena Tandoh, the deputy director-general of the GES, said Prof Opoku-Agyemang’s comments are worrying.

“If there were leaks, the reactions that Prof Opoku-Agyemang called an earthquake in terms of the students’ displeasure with the way the exams went, it wouldn’t have made sense, because anybody who had leaks of exams questions obviously cannot come out and be angry and destroy property.”

“For GES, it was quite shocking to hear that because we had students from Holy Child, Achimota, Wesley Girls, Archbishop Porter all these young boys and girls somehow to suggest that there was a coordinated effort among GES, schools, children to leak exams papers to all these children, it questions the integrity of everybody so we are wholly disappointed in the unfortunate statement of the former education minister,” he said.

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Background

At least 411 out of the 465 candidates who scored 8As in the 2020 WASSCE were students from Ghana, and beneficiaries of the Free SHS policy.

Again, 2020 was the only year that 50% of Ghanaian students scored A1 to C6 in all core subjects, official records at WAEC said.

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