SHSs must adopt good practices from counterparts

SHSs must adopt good practices from counterparts

In 1984, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) instituted two awards - the International Awards to be competed for by candidates in its member countries and also the National Distinction Award, which is restricted in scope to each member country.


 The awards are intended to motivate and spur individuals and institutions to work harder to either maintain or even improve upon what has been achieved.

Awards also make people feel that their effort is valued. They also show approval and gratitude for each person's good job. Aside from that awards make people put in more effort into whatever they are doing because they make people aware that their good work will be rewarded. 

The first-ever International Awards were presented in Monrovia in 1986 to outstanding performers in the May/June 1985 SC/GCE. This has since been an annual affair with the exception of 1996, 1997 and 1998 when no candidate from any of the member countries met the council’s qualification criteria.

To be considered eligible for an Excellence Award, a candidate must obtain a Grade A1 in at least eight subjects, including English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Health Science and Integrated Science, as well as one subject category of the core subjects.

Since the inception of the awards, Ghana has dominated over the years and in some cases, swept all the top three awards.

A careful monitoring of the performance of Ghanaian students shows a consistent performance, year in year out – picking at least one, two or even all the three top awards.

Last week, Ghana’s candidates once again swept all the three prestigious awards in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in the 2023 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). Amo-Kodieh Leonard Kofi Marton, formerly of St James Seminary Senior High School (SHS), Dzandu Selorm, formerly of Labone SHS, and Daniel Asenso-Gyambibi, also a former student of St James Seminary, picked the top three awards in that order. They received $1,500, $1,200 and $900 respectively. Leonard also won the Bandele award with an additional cash prize of $1500.

The Daily Graphic joins the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service and the WAEC to congratulate the three students on lifting the flag of Ghana high at the international stage.

The story of the students gives us hope that Ghana might have been doing something significant in its educational delivery to consistently feature in the awards.

For the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Dr Eric Nkansah, the performance of the students is an indication that, “We are doing something right.”

Their performance is an encouragement to other Ghanaian students to work hard because they also have the opportunity to excel.  

The Daily Graphic is, however, worried that the award-winning students seem to be limited to a few SHSs in the country. For instance, St James Seminary SHS took two of the three awards in 2023, and this year, the same school produced another two of the three.

Other schools that have also featured prominently for producing award-winning students include the Wesley Girls SHS, PRESEC, Legon,  Achimota SHS and Mfantsipim SHS.

Once in a while, a candidate emerges from a school outside the bracket of schools known to produce such students.

For instance, Labone SHS is one of those schools that ordinarily does not feature as regular producers of WAEC Excellent Award winners, even though all SHSs are supposed to be equally good.

In 2001, Ghana produced the overall winner from the Ghana Senior High School, and since then, nothing has been heard about that school. 

In 2005, Chemu SHS also produced one of the award winners, and that has been it.

Our question is: What exactly are those few schools doing right that keeps them producing award-winning students that the others do not do?

Are there any best practices that the other schools can tap into?

The Daily Graphic urges the GES to seek answers to such questions and push the other schools to replicate such practices.

We acknowledge that winning the award may not be the only criteria to judge a good school but the fact remains that a school that keeps producing candidates at that level speaks volumes of the good practices that go on there.

This is what we must unravel to make other schools also excel for the benefit of the whole country.

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