The Minority in Parliament is faulting government’s decision to spend over ¢68 million on past questions for both 2020 and 2021 WASSCE candidates.
On Wednesday, Education Minister Dr Yaw Osei-Adwutum informed Parliament the amount was sourced from the Free SHS account.
“Right Honorable Speaker, in 2020 government through its efforts to help students amid Covid-19 to prepare for the 2020 WASSCE examination, procured 568,755 past questions for students to try their hands on before sitting for the actual exam to help prepare the final year students of our Senior High Schools for the 2021 WASSCE exam. The Ministry has procured 146,954 past questions for the examination and it is paid out of the free Senior High School budget,” he said.
But Deputy Ranking Member on the Education committee, Clement Apaak believes the money could be spent on other priority areas in education.
But Mr Apaak believes there’s no justification for the government to sole-source the contract to Kingdom Books and Stationary.
“I thought that was also strange because if it was not policy and you’re doing it twice in a row and go to the same company, sole-sourced, clearly that should tell you the reason to probe further.
“What is the justification for going to Kingdom books 2 years in a row to procure past examination questions and even at a rate that had varied for about some 32 per cent to do this?
“Actually I have a problem with the pricing as well because sole-sourcing the procurement of this questions from the same company and yet having a variation in the price where in 2021 it is GHC 78 and 2020 it was GHC 59,” he said on JoyNews‘ PM Express.
On his part, the Deputy Education Minister, Reverend Ntim Fodjour disagreed and insisted, such interventions are necessary.
He added, there was consideration for value for money.
“Never before have we had interventions monies paid to schools such that an hour earlier to class hours teachers will have every intervention, give every support to students to augment normal lessons. Never, ever in the history of our education system.
“These interventions have gone in to prepare our students in a very confident, bold and diligent manner for the exam. It could have been GHC200, GHC 300 so that is the question that we must ask so I am stating on authority that value for money consideration was duly ..”
Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare says the processes leading to the purchase of the past questions did not guarantee value for money.
“Again restricted tendering and single sourcing have become the norm. Again why are we having these discussion today? Because politicians are trying so hard to tell us today that single sourcing will suddenly provide value for money even though it didn’t provide value for money yesterday, it will never provide value for money tomorrow,” he said.