The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has tasked school authorities to pay extra attention to English Language to ensure that students improve on the subject.
Mrs Wendy Addy-Lamptey, Head of National Office, WAEC, said improvement on the language would enable candidates to enhance their performances in other subjects.
Mr Addy-Lamptey was speaking at the Distinction Awards ceremony for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for 2019 School candidates in Accra on Wednesday.
The ceremony, established under the WAEC Endowment Fund to honour candidates who distinguish themselves through hard work and excellence in the WASSCE, is held annually.
Out of the 1,927,027 candidates from five WAEC member countries who sat for the WASSCE, two Ghanaians students won the second and third positions at the international level.
The award ceremony is expected to be held in Monrovia.
Three former students of Wesley Girls Senior High School swept the first three national awards.
The three students who are pursuing various field of studies at the University of Ghana, Legon are Ms Melissa Abena Okyerewaa Amoah, the first prize winner; Nana Adwoa Agyemang Sereboo, the second prize winner; and Ewurabena Esiboaba Cudjoe who took the third prize.
Ms Amoah was adjudged the best candidate in the General Science programme, Nana Adwoa Sereboo Agyemang was also adjudged the best candidate in the Business programme.
Caleb Smith formerly of Achimota School was adjudged best candidate in General Arts programme, Ms Barbara Afenyo formerly of Wesley Girls High School was adjudged the best candidate in the Visual Arts programme and Chief Kwamena Katu, formerly of Mfantsipim School was adjudged the best candidate in the Technical Programme.
They were presented with various cash prizes, full scholarships to pursue degree programmes in any local university; and laptops among others.
Mrs Addy-Lamptey acknowledged that there is an improvement in the performance of candidates in all the core subjects for the year 2019 WASSCE as compared to 2018.
On English Language, Mrs Addy-Lamptey said, it has improved from 46.79 per cent in 2018 to 49.06 per cent in 2019.
This, she said, was not up to 50 per cent and stressed the need for candidates to make use of the many resources made available to them such as class notes that would improve on their comprehension of topics taught.
The Head of National Office, WAEC advised students to continue to read text books, watch educational channels to increase their knowledge base.
“The Chief Examiners’ Reports would reveal the weakness of past students and be a guide. Past question papers would help focus your revision, teach you time management and enable you gauge your state of preparedness among other,” she added.
She said Mathematics (Core) has recorded the most significant improvement in grades AI to C6 over that of 2018 that is from 38.15 per cent to 64.23 per cent.
She said Integrated Science, which recorded 50.48 per cent in 2018, rose to 62.94 per cent in the year 2019.
“Social Studies improved slightly from 73.25 per cent in the year 2018 to 75.36 in the year 2019,” she added.
On the canker of malpractices, Mrs Addy- Lamptey said, the use of technology to cheat continues to be a bane of examining bodies worldwide, adding that the Council has adopted stringent measures to preserve the integrity of its examinations.
She appealed to all stakeholders to support the Council to succeed in that direction.
“Examination malpractices if not curbed has the ability of destroying tomorrow’s generation by bringing a mismatch between candidates grades and their competencies, leading to a situation where the pace of national development will be affected,” she cautioned.
Mrs Addy-Lamptey admonished school authorities to be on the alert at all times during the conduct of the examination to bring an end to issues such as pre-arranged cheating.
To candidates, the head of National Office, WAEC, said: “remember that you can pass your examination without cheating.”
She said WAEC has issued caution letters to some school authorities and would soon publish in the dailies, statistics of schools and malpractice cases recorded during the 2019 examination to serve as a deterrent.
Mrs Addy-Lamptey reminded candidates to start preparing for their papers early and ensure that they complete the syllabus before taking examination.
To the beneficiaries of Free Senior High School Policy, she said, WAEC is earnestly working around the clock to ensure the successful conduct of WASSCE, adding that “the council assures all stakeholders of our commitment to a smooth run of examination.
WAEC reports indicate that 346,091 candidates from 987 Senior High Schools in Ghana sat for the 2019 WASSCE. The candidature was made up of 170,867 males and 175,224 were females.
Mr Parteh Bah, Registrar of the Council, said candidates were properly screened and commended Ghana for sweeping most of the awards over the years.
Prof Kwesi Opoku Amankwa, Director General, Ghana Education Service, who chaired the occasion, admonished students to find out from the schools who swept the awards their secret of success and learn from them.
He also advised the distinguished students to allow the awards to spur them on and be winners at every level that they may find themselves.