The government has spent a total of GH₵68.5 million to procure 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), Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, has told Parliament.
He said while the government spent GH₵33,6 million to procure 568,755 WASSE past questions and answers as well as examiners’ report in 2020, a total of 446,954 similar materials were also procured in 2021.
The materials, he said, were procured from Messrs Kingdom Books and Stationery at a unit price of GH₵59 in 2020 and GH78 in 2021.
“The government through its efforts to help students amidst COVID-19 to prepare for the previous year WASSCE, the question and answers were obtained to enable the students to try their hands on before sitting for the actual exams,” he stated.
Source of funding
Speaking on the floor of Parliament today, Dr Adutwum said “The procurement of these questions was funded through the Free Senior High School account and the results of the 2020 WASSCE was tremendous compared to previous years’ WASSCE performance.
The procurement of the 2021 materials, he added, would also be funded from the same Free Senior High School account.
“For students in deprived schools, giving them access to previous examinations’ questions and answers and examiners reports is good intervention,” he said.
He disclosed this when he answered a question by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Builsa South, Dr Clement A. Apaak, who asked how much it cost the state to procure 568,755 past examination questions for SHS students who wrote the WASSCE in 2020 and the source of funds for the procurement.
Dr Apaak also sought to know if the government would procure and distribute past examination questions to final year students preparing to write the 2021 WASSCE, and how this would be funded.
He further asked the minister if Messrs Bluegrass Group Limited had supplied 853,009 units of Kapek Scientific Mathematical Instruments (SMI) to the Ministry of Education at an estimated cost of GHȼ63,975,675.00 (unit cost of GHȼ75.00).
Purchase of mathematical sets
Touching on the supply of the mathematical sets, Dr Adutwum said the ministry on October 11, 2019, signed a contract with Messrs Bluegrass Group Limited to supply a total number 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.
The contract, he said, was amended and signed by both parties on October 22, 2020, to extend the deadline for submission of the mathematical Instruments to January 19, 2021.
“Messrs Bluegrass Group Limited has supplied 416,060 scientific mathematical Instruments to the tune of GHS31.2 million out of the total quantity to be supplied per the contract, hence breaching the contract under Section 24.1 (a) of the General Conditions of Contract (GCC). Due to this, the contract has been terminated,” he stated.
Procurement of textbooks
The minister hinted that the procurement process for the supply of published textbooks to basic schools was currently ongoing.
The ministry, he said, had placed an advert in the Ghanaian Times on June 1, 2020, where various publishers approved by National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) submitted their books and relevant documents to be taken through a pre-qualification procurement process.
The ministry, he added, had constituted a team of experts to evaluate the submissions and make appropriate recommendations for engagement.
“The evaluation process has been completed and recommended books have been shortlisted. The shortlisted publishers have been asked to submit their prices and other relevant documents for evaluation.
“Successful publishers will be invited to the ministry for price negotiations and that will lead to the award of contracts for the supply of textbooks to all public basic schools,” he said.