General News of Monday, 17 April 2000
By Graphic Reporter
IT has now been established that most candidates perform poorly in English, Mathematics and the Sciences in examinations conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).
In a statement, the International Final Awards and Examiners Appointment Committee of WAEC emphasised that the situation does not augur well for national development, which calls for immediate steps to reverse the trend.
The WAEC currently conducts the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) for junior secondary schools and Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (SSCE) at the senior secondary level in the sub-region.
The committee noted that English, Mathematics and the Sciences are the basic disciplines for the planned technological advancement envisaged in the Vision 2020 Programme of Ghana.
The same disciplines, it said, also underline the technological advancement of The Gambia’s Vision 2020 and Nigeria’s Vision 2010, among others.
It said the poor performance in English is particularly worrying because it would be impossible for any candidate to do well in examinations if English Language as a medium of expression, is not mastered.
The committee, therefore, called for a return to the policy of placing emphasis on lexis and structure as well as promoting reading as a habit among pupils and students.
The two-day meeting which took place in Accra, was attended by the Ministers of Education of the five-member countries of WAEC, representatives of secondary schools, universities and Ghana’s Ministry of Education.
Ghana’s delegation to the meeting was led by Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Ekumfi, Director-General of Ghana Education Service. The meeting was chaired by WAEC’s new Chairman, Dr. Frederick S. Gbegbe.
The meeting reviewed statistics of last year’s series of examinations conducted by WAEC in the five member countries.
The statement said members of the council recalled that the council’s chief examiners report from year to year, pinpointed inadequate preparation of students, poor use of English, failure to read instructions to questions and reliance on short notes instead of textbooks as some of the factors responsible for the poor performance of candidates.
While noting that the council regularly distributes its chief examiners report which among others, reviews candidates answers and questions, they pointed out that the availability of the reports per se, do not make for the needed measures that would improve the grades of candidates.