The WASSCE 2020 exams which will provide a common basis for admission of graduates of Senior High School into tertiary institutions start today across the nation.
The exam which was delayed for nearly four months is a historic one in all aspects.
#1 The first historic thing about the WASSCE 2020 exam is the fact that Ghana’s first batch of beneficiaries of the Free SHS are the ones taking the exams. It will afford the government the opportunity to measure its investment in the education of these students. Should the pass rate be higher than previous outcomes, the government would have performed creditably however, the government can from today give itself a pat on the back for standing by its decision.
#2 The month in which the examination is being written is also historic. The WASSCE exam organized by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) for students writing from schools is written in May-June and results then released some 45 days after. But due to the coronavirus which hit the world, the exams had to be postponed and taken in July.
#3 Nigeria would also not take the examination to protect its young population and putting their lives above the WASSCE exams. Ghana has been an advocating country that wanted to take the WASSCE even if the other four West African Countries were not ready for the examination.
#4 Again, the success of the Ghanaian students in the examination will score some political points for the government which may translate into votes in the upcoming general elections on December 7th. The government for the first time did not only pay for the fees of students but also catered for their exams fees and also procured some 400,000 sets of past WASSCE exam questions for the students.
#5 However, in the last few days, the assertion by the government that Free SHS led to increased 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.
Data available to ElectionsinGhana.com show 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.
Since the introduction of the Free SHS, the government has continuously indicated that there has been an increase in enrolment for each year of admission due to the fact that the government is paying the fees of all students.
289,207 students sat for 2017 WASSCE whiles some 316,980 students took the same exams in 2018 WASSCE. 346,098 students sat for 2019 WASSCE whiles 313,837 students will sit for WASSCE 2020. (first batch of free SHS).
From 2016 to 2020, the increase in enrolment was 39,575 however, the government paid their fees in full but the touted increase in enrolment as a result of the Free SHS is being questioned.
No matter how one decides to view the WASSCE 2020, it is historic for record purposes.