The West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) scheduled to be taken in February will be delayed by a month, a Deputy Education Minister in charge of Basic and Secondary Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum has disclosed.
With effect from next year, candidates, he added, will be expected to sit for their examination in June.
According to him, the move is to give candidates more time to prepare for the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) organised examination which is also taken by students in five Anglophone West African countries.
Dr Adutwum made the disclosure to a loud applause from students at the Labone Senior High School in Accra yesterday when he embarked on a tour of some schools in the capital to welcome teachers and students back to school as they reopen for the second term of the 2017/2018 academic year.
Some of the schools Dr Adutwum visited included Morning Star School, St. Thomas Aquinas and Nungua Senior High Schools and the Teshie Cluster of Schools and the Nungua St. Augustine Anglican Basic School.
The tour was for the Deputy Minister to acquaint himself with preparations ahead of full return to academic works and to ascertain their challenges and how best government could address them.
Giving further details on the change of date, Dr Adutwum, who is also the Member of Parliament for Bosomtwe in the Ashanti Region, said the three-year instructional hours with students had gradually reduced to a little over two years, robbing the students of the needed time to prepare.
He said the Ministry’s request for the exams to be written in June this year could not be met by the WAEC, because candidates from Ghana were supposed to write simultaneously with their counterparts in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia and The Gambia.
“Next year, we are asking them that we want to do May/June and not February/March. We want students to have more time to study because, over the years, the three years has turned into two years, three months,” he stated.
He was convinced that if the time for the examination was extended and students given that additional five months to prepare, Ghana could post better results.
Some final year students at Labone who spoke with the Ghanaian Times could not hide their joy at the announcement.
They were unanimous in their view that the extension of time would bring out the best in them, as they would have additional time to cover their syllabus.
During the tour, it was observed that classes were overcrowded, inadequate furniture, ill-stocked libraries among others.
At the Labone SHS for instance, students had to go in batches to have their meals in a heavily congested dining hall.
Government, Dr Adutwum said, was investing “heavily” in the sector to surmount the challenges which had existed in the schools for decades.