Govt blows GH¢68million on ‘Pasco’

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It has come to light that the government of Ghana spent a staggering GH¢68million on the procurement of past questions for students during the 2020 and 2021 West African Secondary School Certificate Examination, WASSCE.

The disclosure was made by Education Minister Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.

Dr. Osei Adutwum revealed that the government purchased 444,954 past questions at unit price of GH¢78 for 2021 WASSCE candidates under the Free Senior High School  (SHS) programme.

He noted that the new price represents a 32% increment on the amount it paid for the sets of books for the 2020 students.

Adutwum noted further that the government paid GH¢31,204, 500 on 416, 060 sets of science and mathematical instruments.

“To help prepare the final year Senior High School students for the 2021 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), the Ministry has procured 446,954 Rst West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) questions from Messrs Kingdom Books and Stationery at a unit price of GH¢78.00. The procurement will be funded from the Free Senior High School Account.

“Mr. Speaker, in 2020, Government through its efforts to help students amidst COV1D-19 to prepare for the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) procured 568,755 past questions for students to try their hands on before sitting for the actual exams.”

He continued: “The Ministry of Education contracted Messrs Kingdom Books and Stationery to supply 568,755 WASSCE past questions at a contract price of GHS 33,641,043.75. The procurement of these questions was funded through the Free Senior High School Account and the results of the 2020 WASSCE were tremendous compared to previous years’ WASSCE performance.

“Mr. Speaker, the procurement process for the supply of published textbooks to Basic Schools is currently ongoing. The Ministry placed an advert in the Ghanaian Times on 1st June 2020, where various publishers approved by NaCCA, submitted their books and relevant documents to be taken through a Pre-Qualification procurement process.”

These figures however infuriated Ranking Member of Parliament’s Education Committee who has labeled the deal as fishy.

Dr. Apaak suspected that the government was not being candid with the country on how it expended state resources on the said past questions.

“Why Government will spend GH¢68,513,455.75to buy 1,035,733 exam questions through sole source from the same company two years in a row, and agree to pay for the same exam questions at GH¢78 per unit, when it paid GH¢59 per unit only a year ago, a whopping 32% increase, begs the question.

“Interestingly the price of textbooks used by Senior High School students have not increased over the period. So how can the past cost of past exam questions increase by 32% from the same supplier? I will share the content follow-up questions and follow-ups with colleagues at a later date. Stay tuned,” he posted on Facebook.

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