Education Minister’s Claim about WASSCE Results Completely False

On Tuesday, June 1, 2021, the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum granted an interview on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana programme. The Minister talked about the government’s flagship Free Senior High School (SHS) programme and the quality of education in the country.

In the interview, Dr Adutwum also responded to some claims the former education minister and NDC’s presidential running mate in the 2020 election, Prof Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, had made about the Free SHS programme.

While responding to Prof Opoku Agyemang’s allegation of widespread malpractices in the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in Ghana, Dr Adutwum compared WASSCE results of 2015, when Prof Agyemang was the minister of education, and 2020.

“Even when the students did well, we are saying it is because of cheating. My brother, let me look at 2015, under the watch of Naana Opoku Agyemang, honourable. In mathematics, for example, 23.9% of the students obtained A1 to C6. That’s what you need to be able to go to the University. 23.9, A1 to C6, university entrance (sic). Under Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in the midst of COVID-19, these students courageously sit for the exam and obtained a score of 66.5%,” the Minister of Education said.

Fact-Check Ghana has verified the claim by the Minister of Education and concluded that it is completely false. Below is the explanation.

According to data sourced by Fact-Check Ghana from the West Africa Education Council (WAEC), the body in charge of conducting the WASSCE, corroborated by other credible media reports, in 2015, 25. 29% of students obtained A1 to C6 in mathematics, not 23.9% as the minister claimed. The data also indicate that in 2020, 65.71% of the students A1 to C6 in mathematics, which is inconsistent with the 66.5% as the minister presented.

In 2015,  a total of 268,812 candidates from 810 schools took the exam. In 2020, a total of 375,763 candidates from 976 schools sat the exam, according to WAEC.

Below is a breakdown of the performance of candidates in Mathematics for the years 2015 and 2020.

Year Number of Percentage of Students Obtaining
Grades

A1-C6

Grades

D7-E8

Grade

F9

2015 25.29% 29.75% 37.17%
2020 65.71% 20.61% 13.40%

Source: WAEC, Media Reports

Thus, from the data above, the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, understated the percentage of students who scored A1-C6 in mathematics in 2015 while overstating the percentage for the 2020 results.

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