The 2020 edition of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) is a historic one in all aspects as explained below
1. The first historic thing about the conduct of the 2020 WASSCE is the fact that the first batch of the Akufo-Addo government Free Senior High School (Free SHS) beneficiaries are the ones sitting for the much-awaited exams.
This will afford the government the opportunity to measure its investment in the education of these students. Should the pass rate be higher than the previous outcomes, the Akufo-Addo government stand the chance of ruling the country for another four more years.
2. The month in which the examination is being conducted is also historic because usually the examination is conducted in May/June by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and results released within 45 days after the last paper. But amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that has halted many academic activities globally the examination had to be postponed to July, 2020.
3. A statement from the Nigerian’s Education Ministry sighted by Georgeweb.org said Nigeria would not partake in this year’s WASSCE for school candidates. The Ministry gave a reason that it will not put the lives of the candidates above the WASSCE exams.
However, the Government of Ghana has insisted for final year students in various Senior High Schools (SHSs) to sit for the examination even if the other member countries were not ready to take the final examination.
Ghana’s Ministry of Education in line with this consulted the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to organise a country specific examination for only Ghana candidates should other member countries refuse to partake in the examination.
4. Again, the success of the Akufo-Addo graduates in the examination will score some political points for the Akufo-Addo led government which may increase the ruling party’s votes in the upcoming 2020 polls on December 7.
The Akufo-Addo government for the first time did not only pay for the fees of the Free Senior High School students but also absorb the examination fees and procured some 400,000 sets of past WASSCE exam questions for the students.
5. The assertion by the government that Free SHS led to increase in enrollment in Senior High School has been a debate as the number expected to take the examination has remained within the same range as previous years.
Statistics indicates that in 2012 a total of 174,461 sat for the WASSCE, 274,262 Sat for WASSCE in 2016 thus an increment of 99,801 which accumulates into 56% increment over a 4 year.
The government since the implementation of the Free SHS policy has continuously said there has been an increase in enrollment for each year of admission due to the fact that the government is paying the fees of all students.
In 2017 289,207 students sat for 2017 WASSCE, some 316,980 students took the same exams in 2018 WASSCE and 313,837 students will sit for the 2020 WASSCE for school candidates (first batch of free SHS).
The increment in enrolment from 2017 to 2020 was 39,575. The government, however, paid candidates fees in full but the touted increase in enrolment as a result of the Free SHS is being questioned.
With all these facts put together no matter how one decides to view the 2020 WASSCE, it is historic for record purpose.