The Deputy Ranking Member on Parliamentary Select Committee of Education Dr. Clement Apaak said the Free Senior High School Policy has not resulted in an increased enrollment as the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has alleged.
Hon. Dr. Apaak argued that, there has been a decline in the total number of candidates expected to write the 2020 West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) as compared to the year before, 2019.
According to the Member of Parliament for Builsa South, the sharp decline in the figure suggests that contrary to the narrative, the Free Senior High School Policy has not resulted in an increased enrollment. He added that, the figures suggest a decline if we go by the number of WASSCE candidates. “Year in year out, the number of candidates for WASSCE go up, but figures for 2019 are higher than 2020 by 32, 257.” He said.
He therefore released some figures to support his argument. See below the numbers:
2016 – 247, 262 candidates
2017 – 289, 210 candidates
2018 – 316, 999 candidates
2019 – 346, 094 candidates
2020 – 313, 837 candidates
Per his statistics, the total number of candidates increased by 42, 364 from 2016 to 2017. Then from 2017 to 2018, there was an increase of 27, 789. The trend continues from 2018 to 2019 with an increase of 29,095 candidates. However, between 2019 and 2020, there is a drop in the number of candidates by -32,257.
The Deputy Minority Spokesperson on Education categorically said, “From the trend, its only 2020 that has seen lesser students/candidates (-32, 257) compared to the previous year. This is against the trend, the numbers are usually increasing as is obvious from 2016 to 2019. FSHS should have seen a bigger increase, than the usual trend, not a drop.”
What has accounted for this anomaly or deviance in the pattern of increasing numbers is yet to be uncovered. But, in the immediate, it doesn’t support the claim that FSHS has resulted in increased enrollments.
He concluded by saying, “What other factors can explain the drop in the number of candidates if SHS education has been free for the current crop of candidates from year one?”