Regional News of 2014-01-30

Reserve quotas for 2014 WASSCE candidates – Minister

The Ministry of Education is making frantic efforts to ensure that candidates writing this year’s West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) gain admission to public universities.

It is talking with the vice-chancellors of the public universities to convince them to consider reserving a quota for those candidates.

In addition, the ministry has held discussions with the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to find ways to fast-track the release of the 2014 WASSCE results to give the universities ample time to admit qualified candidates.

In an interview, a deputy minister of Education in charge of Tertiary Education, Mr Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, said “The government would like to assure the WASSCE candidates that admission will not be closed to them.”

Decisions by the universities

The University of Cape Coast (UCC) and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi have indicated their intention not to offer admission to such applicants.

According to them, by the time the results of the 2014 WASSCE would be released, they would have closed their admissions.

The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) in Tarkwa has, however, given an assurance that it will wait for this year’s candidates.

Government’s position

However, Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwa said the ministry had made the government’s position known to the two universities that they needed to reserve quotas for this year’s WASSCE candidates.

“I have spoken to the vice-chancellors of the KNUST and UCC. I have appealed to them that they ought to review their decisions, but they have told me that they will put the request before their academic boards,” he said.

He said the ministry had told the two institutions that the government did not support their positions because that would not be in the interest of education in the country, though there were other options for them.

“We still believe that no door should be shut on them,” he said, recalling how candidates used to stay at home for a year before gaining admission to tertiary institutions.

“We notice that it was not in the interest of the candidates and also the nation,” he said.

Efforts by the ministry

Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwa hinted that as part of efforts to fast-track the 2014 WASSCE results, WAEC had pledged to ensure that the results were released in early August.

“WAEC has given us the assurance that it will release the results as early as it can by early August,” he told the Daily Graphic.

He said the National Council for Tertiary Education had also stepped in to resolve the problem “and we believe that together we will find a solution”.

Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwa explained that the decision by the universities to open admissions so early was due to the backlog of candidates as a result of the two cohorts of candidates who passed out last year.

“We appreciate their effort to clear the backlog by giving opportunities to those awaiting admission,” he said, but said the ministry was liaising with them to reserve quotas for this year’s candidates.

Source: graphic.com.gh
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