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THE 2023 WASSCE RESULTS: Reality Vrs Political Gimmick 

Delivering his speech at the 187th Speech and Prize Giving Day and Anniversary celebration of Wesley Girls’ High School, His Excellency President Nana Akuffo-Addo revisited the brouhaha surrounding the 2023 WASSCE Results. He condemned stakeholders, including the Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Former President John Dramani Mahama, for questioning the credibility of the results based on cheating.

On 23rd December 2023, Former President Mahama interacted with the people of Agona Asafo in the Agona East District of the Central region as part of his Building the Ghana We Want Together community engagements. The purpose of the engagement was to listen to the priority needs of the community to ensure that the 2024 Manifesto of the NDC reflects the grassroots wishes of citizens.

The well-patronized engagement included Chiefs, Assembly members, farmers, market women, dressmakers, hairdressers, religious representatives, and teachers. Each of the interest groups talked about challenges associated with their jobs and shared their priority needs with the Former President.

Responding to the school-related challenges presented by the teacher representatives, which fundamentally focused on factors affecting quality teaching and learning in Senior High Schools, his Excellency the Former President recounted reports of examination malpractices associated with the 2023 WASSCE results and expressed concern about the future implications of such malpractices for the quality of students churned out by our school system, if unchecked.

This genuine concern expressed by the Former President was given a political twist, with the Ministry of Education describing his comment as a false misrepresentation of the facts which only seeks to malign the integrity of the vast majority of our hard-working teachers and students. In his Facebook post, His Excellency the Vice-President, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, also implicitly, accused Former President Mahama of denigrating the achievements of the students and sarcastically said, ‘Not everyone can appreciate what it takes to be an intelligent student’.

In the same vein, the Youth wing of the NPP lambasted and cautioned the Former President: ‘To insult our intelligence and that of the intelligence of our Senior High School students is a fight against the future of this nation and shall therefore not be tolerated’. President Akuffo-Addo joined the political-twist agenda by lashing Former President Mahama, describing his cheating-linked credibility statements as ‘unfortunate misguided statements’ and insisting that there is no merit in criticizing the 2023 WASSCE results within the context of cheating.

The Realities

Unless His Excellency President Akuffo-Addo was misled by his technical advisers on the state of examination malpractices in the country, I find it strange that he will join his Vice-President, Dr Mahamadu Bawumiah to play the ostrich in this matter. Are they saying that our nation did not record cases of networked cheating involving some teachers and students during the 2023 WASSCE?

Are they suggesting that examination malpractices do not affect examination results in any way and that uncontrolled examination malpractices do not raise doubts about individual and school performance in examinations? These are questions that should be of great concern to every visionary leader.

Visionary leaders do not pretend that all is well in the conduct of examinations, especially in Ghana’s less-endowed schools where inadequate teaching learning resources (TLRs), unstable academic calendar, poor student feeding, overstretched teacher work time and many others obstruct quality teaching and learning.

Instead, they embrace criticisms that draw attention to the occurrence and prevalence of examination malpractices, passionately interrogate causes of such malpractices, draw attention to dangers associated with such malpractices and their implications for the quality development of our young ones and proffer strategies for enhancing the integrity of examinations. Indeed, anyone who respects the dignity of our young ones and thinks about their future well-being would be concerned about the deplorable conditions in some senior high schools that contribute to the increasing trend of malpractices associated with the WASSCE. This is exactly the concern I find in Former President Mahama’s statement.

George K.T. Oduro

Indeed, long before Former President Mahama’s statement, the African Education Watch (EDUWATCH) had lamented how examination malpractices were undermining the integrity of the WASSCE and urged Ghanaians to ‘confront this canker without excuses and stop pretending it does not affect exam results and the quality of human capital’.

A 9th October 2023 statement released by EDUWATCH provides evidence of ‘security breaches leading to the circulation of questions for Social Studies 1, Biology 2 and Mathematics 2 papers on social media about 45 minutes ahead of the scheduled time for the examinations’.

The statement further articulated that cheating networks had intensified at the examination centres, especially where external supervisors were absent. In some centres, questions were solved by some teachers and transmitted via WhatsApp platforms to candidates at some centres. The statement further said ‘other schools had answers written on boards for students to copy, with students paying as much as GHC 1,000’.

There were also news items that reported the arrests of some culprits of cheating during the 2023 WASSCE. What happened to the lucky ones who were not seen and arrested? They had a free range to trade cheating. For purposes of fairness and equity, could the leaked papers not have been cancelled to protect the integrity of the 2023 WASSCE and thereby prevent others from benefiting from the leaked questions?

The Political Gimmick

The foregoing gives credence to the reality that the conduct of the 2023 WASSCE was characterized by examination malpractices at some centres. The recorded cases of cheating during the exams are facts that cannot be stifled. Therefore, anyone who attempts to rubbish statements that articulate the examination malpractices and their implications for the quality of students schools churn out and the future integrity of certificates internationally, as articulated by Former President Mahama, can only be justified within the context of a political gimmick.

This is a reality I expected His Excellency President Akuffo-Addo to have acknowledged and leveraged to educate students on the adverse effects of examination malpractices, encourage them to study hard and inform heads of schools and teachers about what his government is doing to avert the unfavourable school conditions that threaten quality teaching and learning in schools. For President Akuffo-Addo to pretend that malpractices do not exist and thereby insist that there is no merit in the criticism of the 2023 WASSCE results is therefore unfortunate and can only serve the purpose of vote-winning propaganda.


I plead with His Excellency President Akuffo-Addo and the Vice-President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, to appreciate Former President Mahama and other stakeholders for drawing attention to the examination malpractices that characterized the conduct of the 2023 WASSCE. They must appreciate that the quality of students produced by our senior high schools plays a crucial role in determining the quality of graduates produced by our tertiary education institutions. Ensuring quality conduct of WASSCE to ensure quality graduates from our school system should be a prioritized concern for the government.

As a nation, we should realize that politicizing the canker of examination malpractices to appeal to the emotions of young people for 2024 votes, as President Akuffo-Addo demonstrated at Wesley Girls, will only perpetuate the malpractice, ultimately create an identity challenge for our young people and adversely affect the quality of knowledge and skills our able young people need to cope with their future adult life and our national development challenges.

As Belinda Bozzoli, (a South African stateswoman) rightly observes, ‘destroying a nation does not require the use of bombs and missiles. It only requires lowering the quality of education …. Then the patients die at the hands of doctors. Buildings collapse at the hands of engineers. Money is lost at the hands of accountants; Truth is killed at the hands of judges.

George K.T. Oduro
Professor of Educational Leadership, University of Cape Coast

DC Kwame Kwakye

Fatherhood Advocate, Consultant, Broadcast Journalist, Writer and Counsellor.

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