In a rather curious disclosure, the Akufo Addo administration has blown over US$34.8 million on alleged past examination questions for students preparing for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
This inexplicable expenditure is coming at a time when the government is complaining of dire financial standing of the country as well as its inability to provide key infrastructure and resources for Senior High Schools (SHS) in the country.
According to the Education Minister in an Order Paper presented in Parliament today, “the Ministry has procured 446,954 past West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) questions from Messers Kingdom Books and Stationery at a unit price of GHC 78.00. The procurement will be funded from the Free Senior High School Account.”
The Ministry and the government which has been accused of misplaced priorities claim the humongous expenditure is to “help prepare” the final SHS students scheduled to write their final examinations this year.
The is an escalation of the amount spend for the same purpose in 2020. The Akufo Addo administration spent a total of GHC 34 million to buy 568,755 so-called past questions.
Between 2020 and 2021, therefore, the Akufo Addo administration whose free education programme is collapsing at a fast pace for lack of resources had spent a whopping GHC 68 million on past questions.
Already, the revelation has sent Ghanaian social media into a frenzy of anger as this amounts to the umpteenth time the Akufo Addo administration had displayed insensitivity to the sentiments of the populace on its extremely wasteful expenditures.
In the past few months, SHS’ have had difficulties reopening because heads of schools had complained about lack of resources from the government to finance the various resources needed for the free SHS programme which is the government’s top priority policy.
The situation is forcing headteachers to be clandestinely charging fees from students, even though the free SHS programme forbids it.
Critics believe the amount blown on past questions could have significantly added enough infrastructure to existing senior high schools to allow the government to stop the shift system of education it is currently operating to accommodate the huge numbers of student beneficiaries of the free education policy.
The amount spent on the past questions is basically an ill-conceived recurrent expenditure that does not add any value to the general education system as well as the students, except for those who would study to pass their examination anyway.