Teacher Tapp Ghana: How do teachers feel about exam question leaks?

Welcome to Teacher Tapp Ghana

Every Monday we summarize our most surprising and interesting survey findings from the week before. This weekly blog provides an easy way for you to learn about the experiences and opinions of teachers across Ghana.

Please encourage your colleagues to use the Teacher Tapp app to keep engaged with education even when they’re not teaching. Your responses are also a vital data source that will guide decision-making around best policies and approaches for enhancing the welfare of educators/teachers and ensuring robust educational sector management.

Many more teachers will like to be heard and this can be done through Teacher Tapp. Do share this blog with your colleagues and encourage them to use the download links at the bottom of the page. In the meantime, here are this week’s intriguing findings…

1. Exam Leaks

Last week, images circulated on social media that alleged to be leaked questions from the 2020 WASSCE Science examination.

GES and other authorities have insisted that these images are fake and do not represent actual questions from the paper. They have attributed the spread of these images as a deliberate attempt to undermine the integrity of officials and of the examination process. In response, rumours have been circulated that the exam questions were deliberately leaked to improve student achievement in the exams.

Amid this controversy, we wondered what teachers think. Nearly two thirds of teachers told us that exam leaks are common and happen every year. This shows a low level of trust in the robustness and fairness of the WASSCE examination process generally. Nevertheless, nearly 9 in 10 teachers believed that the most recent leak should be followed by a formal investigation.

A formal inquiry may be delayed by the limited resources of authorities right now and by the COVID-19 crisis. This is especially the case as there is currently little evidence to support the claim that the images circulating on social media represent a genuine leak. Nonetheless, it is important to restore trust between the profession and official examination agencies.

2 . Long vacation

Schools remain closed for most teachers, and final years students who have finished exams will be returning home very soon.

As a remarkable academic year comes to an end, how are teachers feeling? We noted that nearly 90% of teachers are concerned about their students’ welfare over summer.

The extended summer vacation often puts young people at risk of dangerous employment, forced marriage, hunger and other physical health needs. All of these issues are magnified this year due to the COVID-19 crisis.

As part of curbing the escalation of that crisis, some students are having a staggered release from the schools where they are staying. This has been the case for students who are based in a school where students have had the virus.

Three quarters of teachers support this initiative. The number of young people who have tested positive for the virus, while still very low, has been higher than expected. With this in mind, teachers are keen to curb the spread to other people as much as possible.

What next for schools? With a September reopening extremely unlikely, there are major questions about the future of education in Ghana.

3. After COVID…

COVID-19 shows no signs of disappearing, which means long-term changes to the educational system of Ghana are necessary.

We asked teachers for their views on this and there were some stand-out opinions. Firstly, reform to tertiary education was supported by over 80% of teachers.

Clearly, preparing students for the very different world of work as COVID-19 continues is necessary. Retraining some young people for different work than they had planned for is also vital. It is also crucial to consider that supporting this work will require other infrastructure improvements, for example telecommunication construction.

Teachers also overwhelmingly supported moving the Licence Examination online. While this will allow exams to continue during social distancing, it also presents an opportunity to move away from an already old-fashioned and burdensome practice towards a more efficient one better suited to teachers.

As with many areas of life, COVID-19 presents opportunities as well as threats!

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