Cost-effectiveness in reproducing WASSCE past question papers needed!
Following the commencement of the government’s flagship free Senior High School (SHS) policy, past West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) examination question papers are distributed to final-year SHS students in the country.
This move is not a bad idea as the past WASSCE question papers enable final year students to know, understand and practise possible examinable questions to appreciate the structure of questions, the style, the test pattern and the weighing of the questions.
Past question papers, thus, allow candidates to practise standard WAEC questions and psychologically prepare themselves for the examinations.
Additionally, it is particularly useful for disadvantaged final-year students in deprived communities who may not have access to past questions.
Nonetheless, the ownership and custody of these past question papers need a second look.
The past examination question papers are procured and sent to the various regions/districts/schools for distribution to the final-year students in their respective schools.
Yearly, the government contracts printing house(s) to print/duplicate those past examination question papers, sort, collate and package them for collection and distribution to SHSs.
The cost associated with this, apart from the yearly procurement procedures cost, including pre-contract activities/meetings and distribution cost to the various regions and schools, is about GH¢60 million.
The initiative should be improved to avoid repetitive costs and prevent the state from annually spending huge sums of money for the production and distribution of these (same sets of) past WASSCE question papers.
It is assumed that final-year SHS students do not give or gift these past WASSCE question papers to their immediate junior colleagues, thereby necessitating the yearly reproduction of those scripts.
It is possible, and indeed a judicious use of public funds, to treat these past WASSCE examination question papers as a necessary educational resource and make the properties of the various SHSs so that final-year students leave them behind for succeeding final-year students.
The current practice where the papers are procured and distributed to students, who take them away after the examinations, is not the best utilisation of educational resources.
The same past WAEC question papers are produced yearly, with only the latest past question paper being added to the duplication each year, and the cycle repeats itself.
The yearly repetitive expenditure by the state is avoidable so only the previous year’s past question papers will be reproduced and sent to the schools to be added to the stock of past WASSCE question papers.
Better still, the past WASSCE question papers could be reproduced at a five-year timeline cycle and added to existing banks of past WASSCE question papers in the various libraries or stocks at schools.
This will save the yearly repetitive cost and free some resources for allocation to other equally important educational needs at the SHS level.
Though the effort is commendable, let it not blind the Ministry of Education from making judicious use of the limited educational resources available.
If nothing is done to prevent this avoidable repetitive expenditure, some duty bearers may be directly or remotely benefiting from the annual repetitive expenditure.