By Eric Kallay (Intern)
Following the release of the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) results, Members of Parliament have on Tuesday 24th November expressed dissatisfaction over the poor performance of students and requested the presence of the Minister of Basic and Senior School Education, Dr Moinina David Sengeh before the House to explain the cause of the massive failure this year.
Leader of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) Party, Hon. Chernor Maju Bah in his presentation reminded colleagues that the issue of education is a national concern and should not be looked at with lenses coloured with political sentiments.
He said the poor performance of students in the just-published WASSCE results was a worrisome development and hence, called on colleagues to treat education-related matters with utmost seriousness.
“With education, our human resource base will be meaningful to us as a nation. The greatest resource we should have as a nation is a human resource. When we have a good human resource base, we have all the resources,” Hon Bah said.
He said since as Members of Parliament they were in full support of the president’s flagship project of Free, Quality Education (FQE), they would not keep quiet until the government attained the standard demanded of the project.
However, the opposition chief lamented over the change in the educational system that the Bio government reversed back from 6-3-4-4 to 6-3-3-4. “Perhaps the reason for the outcome of the poor results in this year’s WASSCE is the change in the education system as the pupils do no longer have enough time to complete their syllabus.”
In his submission, deputy to the Minority Leader, Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo of Constituency 034 reiterated that the students failed principally because some did not study and that the reversed program might not suitable for them. The septuagenarian furthered that even the school feeding program is not visible. “I have travelled from Bo to Kenema and Makeni and I saw no child-eating anything,” said Hon. I B Kargbo.
In that regard and for the Minister to answer to a few questions, he moved a motion asking that the supervisory minister made himself available in the well of parliament.
“We want Dr Moinina David Sengeh to avail himself to this House to discuss the issues that led to the poor performance of pupils this year in public examinations.”
Another APC MP, Hon. Abdul Kargbo of Constituency 077 in his submission made a comparative analysis of passes amongst countries that took the WASSCE. In his analysis he stated that Ghana has 68.5%, Nigeria has 65.8%, The Gambia has 64.8% while Sierra Leone trails behind with only 4.6% of passes. He said such performance is not worthy of writing home about.
“If I were the president of Sierra Leone, no sooner those results were published that I declared education as a national emergency,” he said, saying he supported the Minority Leader’s notion that the results are not encouraging because of the change in the system from 6-3-4-4 to 6-3-3-4.
In acknowledgement, the Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Abass Chernor Bundu said there was a need to invite the minister to come and explain the causes of massive failure in this year’s WASSCE results.
He, however, hastened to note that education is a crucial national issue that Members of Parliament should not politicize.
“I have already on your behalf spoken with the minister myself and he is more than agreeable to come into the house to have this conversation with you,” said the Honorable speaker of Parliament. He, however, could not state when the minister would avail himself before the House.