The government has spent a total of GH68.5 million to obtain over one million past questions and answers for senior high school (SHS) students as part of interventions to help them prepare for the 2020 and 2021 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), according to Education Minister Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum.
He stated that while the government spent GH33,6 million in 2020 to obtain 568,755 WASSE past questions and answers as well as examiners’ reports, a total of 446,954 similar materials were obtained in 2021.
He stated that the materials were purchased from Messrs Kingdom Books and Stationery for GH59 per unit in 2020 and GH78 per unit in 2021.
“The government obtained the question and answers to enable the students to try their hands on before sitting for the actual exams as part of its efforts to help students amidst COVID-19 prepare for the previous year WASSCE,” he said.
Dr. Adutwum stated today on the floor of Parliament, “The procurement of these questions was funded through the Free Senior High School account, and the results of the 2020 WASSCE were tremendous when compared to previous years’ WASSCE performance.”
He also stated that the procurement of the 2021 materials would be funded through the same Free Senior High School account.
“Giving students in deprived schools access to previous examinations’ questions and answers, as well as examiners’ reports, is a good intervention,” he said.
He revealed this when responding to a question from Dr Clement A. Apaak, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Builsa South, who asked how much it cost the state to procure 568,755 past examination questions for SHS students who took the WASSCE in 2020, as well as the source of funds for the procurement.
Dr. Apaak also inquired as to whether the government would obtain and distribute past examination questions to final-year students preparing to take the WASSCE in 2021, and how this would be funded.
He also asked the minister if Messrs Bluegrass Group Limited had supplied the Ministry of Education with 853,009 units of Kapek Scientific Mathematical Instruments (SMI) at an estimated cost of GH63,975,675.00 (GH75.00 per unit).
Mathematical set purchases
Concerning the supply of mathematical sets, Dr. Adutwum stated that the ministry signed a contract with Messrs Bluegrass Group Limited on October 11, 2019, to supply a total of 853,009 Kapek Scientific Mathematical Instruments prescribed by the West Africa Examination Council for Senior High Schools at a unit cost of GHS 75.
According to him, the contract was amended and signed by both parties on October 22, 2020, to extend the deadline for submitting the mathematical Instruments to January 19, 2021.
“Messrs Bluegrass Group Limited has supplied 416,060 scientific mathematical instruments worth GHS31.2 million out of the total quantity to be supplied under the contract, thereby breaching the contract under Section 24.1 (a) of the General Conditions of Contract” (GCC). “As a result of this, the contract has been terminated,” he explained.
Purchase of textbooks
The minister hinted that a procurement process for the supply of published textbooks to elementary schools was currently underway.
He stated that the ministry had placed an advertisement in the Ghanaian Times on June 1, 2020, in which various publishers approved by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) submitted their books and relevant documents to be considered for a pre-qualification procurement process.
He went on to say that the ministry had formed a team of experts to evaluate the submissions and make appropriate recommendations for engagement.
“The evaluation process is finished, and the recommended books have been shortlisted.” The publishers who have been shortlisted have been asked to submit their prices and other relevant documents for evaluation.
“Successful publishers will be invited to the ministry for price negotiations, which will result in the awarding of contracts for the supply of textbooks to all public elementary schools,” he said.