Despite all the glorious noises from the Basic Education Ministry, the verdict is out, and it is definitely not FAKE NEWS. The 2020 WASSCE results are probably the worst this country has ever seen.
The pass rate judged by fulfilling the criteria of obtaining passes in 5 subjects to enter University is less than 5%. Sierra Leone had the worst pass rate of five subjects across all of WAEC countries, with Ghana 68.5%, Nigeria 65.8%, Gambia 64.8%, Sierra Leone 4.5%
More damning was to listen to a Member of Parliament for Kono lament that out of over fifteen thousand pupils who sat to the exam none was able to make the requirements of five subjects to enter university although nine got five subjects but with the combination to make University.
What the statistically savy education officials are not telling us is how many other districts have suffered the same fate.
However rhetorics aside, this was bound to happen soon.
The education system had been systematically robbed off its most prized asset which is integrity. Politicians saw nothing wrong in awarding scholarships to their relationships who did not match the grade, but we’re pushed to “go try.” Some of these have become stranded in foreign lands as they could not make it past their first year.
Teachers were allowed to become so broke that they started by forcing the children to buy pamphlets, which graduated at primary level to brooms, then chalk, then food, and report cards etc. But it was arguably the extra classes or remedial lessons which started the patronage and money for grades. Encouraged by parents who equally lacked morals this practice has been allowed to fester.
Kids pass with good grades but cannot pass a single exam in college. College administrators watered down èntry requirements calling them access courses all in a bid to help those who could not make the grade.
And so the standards fell. University graduates came out writing very bad English. Some could not even spell.
Underneath it all was the lucrative trade of “helping” students get the almighty degree, seen as the gateway to a better job. The sex for grades and money for grades flourished and was lubricated handsomely by politicians who saw it as a way to show they were making progress, albeit in a crooked manner.
And so the ACC came determined to put a stop. Where others turned a blind eye, they stamped their feet. The tables have turned and those who had lazily been paying their way through, depending on the corrupt system, suddenly found out the doors were closed. The small number who are used to working hard are the survivors.
Now is the time for the gruelling work to begin. The work of instilling values of integrity. Showing kids that they cannot short cut their way to the top by paying money or being immoral. The pamphlets and extra lessons must go. The monitoring of teachers must begin. The movement must be ruthless. Now more than ever there is hope that from the ashes will rise the phoenix. We are now rock bottom so this should be the turning point. We can only wish the politicians are genuine and pray to God for the country.