Poorly organized National Standardized Test must be probed-MP

Ranking Member on the Education Committee of Parliament Dr. Clement Apaak has called for an investigation into what he had described as poorly organized National Standardized Test.

The Ranking who is also the MP for Builsa South alleged that some 550,000 Primary 4 pupils were expected to take part in the test across the various centres.

However, there are indications that not all pupils took the test due to the inadequate arrangements and poor planning”.

Per his view, the Ministry of Education through it’s agency, the Ghana Education Service failed to prepare adequately for the examination.

“It was obvious that the Ministry of Education and its agency GES had not prepared adequately, and rather than postponing the test, they abandoned the original concept of the class 4 pupils writing the NST insitu, that is, in their original schools and classrooms. To cover up the inadequacy in preparation, the Ministry brought in WAEC to conduct the NST. This is what resulted in the use of cluster centres through the WAEC format, where a number of pupils were moved from thier schools to centres to take the test.”

The Ministry of Education has described the organization of the examination as successful.

According to the Ministry, the maiden edition of the test is set to evaluate learning outcomes in English and Mathematics at the primary school level.

The national test will enable the Ministry of Education generate data on the performance of pupils in English Language and Mathematics.

It will help to build a strong educational system in the country by enhancing the learning outcomes of pupils while reducing the issue of learning poverty.

The test is not meant to grade pupils in primary four but to improve teaching and learning in the basic schools across the country

But Dr. Apaak says the examination was poorly organized.

“We called for a postponement on these and other grounds, but the Ministry of Education ignored. We were assured at committee that we had no reasons to worry. We were told preparations were adequate, now we know that was not so.

Given what has emerged so far, a probe into the conduct of the test and how much it cost the taxpayers is justified. We must always demand accountability from those managing the affairs of state on our behalf. We deserve better.”

Read his full statement below

POORLY ORGANIZED NATIONAL STANDARDIZED TEST OUGHT TO BE PROBED

Reports emerging suggest that the maiden National Standardised Test (NST) for primary 4 pupils was poorly organised. The nationwide NST under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service (GES) took place on Friday, 17 December 2021, for all Primary 4 pupils in public schools across the country.

About 550,000 Primary 4 pupils were expected to take part in the test across the various centres. However, there are indications that not all pupils took the test due to the inadequate arrangements and poor planning.

There is nothing wrong with testing pupils in Literacy and Numeracy as a basis of obtaining feedback to assist with the appropriate interventions required to correct learning deficiency at the early stages. However, if due to poor planning and arrangement the test takers feel anxious, tortured, tormented, traumatised and exposed to danger, it defeats the purpose of the exercise. How do you get the right feedback from students who were not accessed in a conducive?

It was obvious that the Ministry of Education and its agency GES had not prepared adequately, and rather than postponing the test, they abandoned the original concept of the class 4 pupils writing the NST insitu, that is, in their original schools and classrooms. To cover up the inadequacy in preparation, the Ministry brought in WAEC to conduct the NST. This is what resulted in the use of cluster centres through the WAEC format, where a number of pupils were moved from thier schools to centres to take the test.

Reports available point to transportation challenges and exposed students to risk (see video). In other instances the test started late, due to late arrival of test materials and or late arrival of travelling students to the centres. Consequently, some pupils wrote the test at night with flashlights (see video).

Many of these challenges could have been avoided if the call to postpone had been heeded. At the committee sitting many of us advocated for a postponement of the 17th December date to allow adequate planning. We argued that the postponement should allow time implement the test in consonance with the original format and concept, that is the pupils taking the test in thier schools, in their classrooms, in thier familiar environments.

At the committee and on media platforms, I raised questions about; safety of pupils moving to centres; transportation, especially in the rural areas where communities are far apart, and centres far from the source schools; feeding pupils; anxiety issues since many primary 4 pupils have never been out of thier known environments to take any examinations in any form.

We called for a postponement on these and other grounds, but the Ministry of Education ignored. We were assured at committee that we had no reasons to worry. We were told preparations were adequate, now we know that was not so.

Given what has emerged so far, a probe into the conduct of the test and how much it cost the taxpayers is justified. We must always demand accountability from those managing the affairs of state on our behalf. We deserve better.

Dr. Clement Apaak
M.P, Builsa South
Deputy Ranking Member On Education Committee of Parliament

By: Rainbowradioonline.com/Ghana

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