We Told Them So

There could not have been a better testimonial for a bad educational policy. The recent West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results serve that purpose, cut and dry. The results have broken hearts and vindicated those who spoke against the path government was treading when the issue was infected by the contagion of local politics. If we were therefore waiting for an appropriate time to assess the controversial and politicised NDC-powered truncated senior high school system, the time is now. After three years of experimentation, the laboratory results are out unambiguous. Last week ended on a sour note for candidates awaiting the outcome of their academic toils, their parents and policymakers: when the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) released what passes for the worst senior high school final examination results in recent times, stakeholders were devastated beyond imagination. For those who stood up to be counted among those in opposition to the new policy to have second cycle school system truncated, they are laughing last but painfully somewhat. After all, most Ghanaian students are unable to proceed to tertiary institutions. Parents by this reality, would cough out difficult-to-come-by money to pay for remedial classes so the kids can improve upon their results. Those who opposed government�s decision to curtail the school duration cited, among other things, the negative impact this would have upon quality. Results which can ensure entry into tertiary institutions are poor: the blame should be put at the doorstep of government. The intransigence, when the subject maintained centre-stage in media discussions, was mired in insulting arrogance on the part of government. Now that the chickens have come home to roost, we are just wondering what the reaction of government will be. Even before reaching this stage, signs of the falling standards of our educational system were evident and indeed formed basis of various discourses. Discussions about the poor state of education during such discourses could not be hinged on concrete basis until now. Policymakers are better primed to analyse the effects of the shortened senior high school duration. As to whether such analysis can alter the stubbornness of policymakers and to have them accept their folly, cannot be vouched. We wish it could, given the criticalness of education in national development. Human resource development depends largely on the quality of education at our disposal. Just before terminating our commentary, the Minister of Education has reportedly questioned the verity of the claim that 28.11% of the candidates failed, preferring a government-preferred figure of 3% failure. It would be interesting to find out from her whether by her explanation or defence of government, 97% of the candidates qualify to pursue tertiary education? Denial and propaganda are infections which have eaten deep into the marrow of the NDC government. They are ready to defend to the hilt their failed policies, regardless of the unsoundness of these.