Claim: Ghana emerged first for four consecutive years in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE)

Source: John Dramani Mahama

Verdict: Exaggerated

Researched by Sani Abdul-Rahman

On August 26, former president and flagbearer of Ghana’s largest opposition political party, National Democratic Congress(NDC), John Mahama, introduced his running mate to the Asantehene and the Kumasi Traditional Council at Manhyia Palace in the Ashanti region.

Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyeman, Ghana’s former education minister has been selected as the NDC vice-presidential nominee for the December polls.

The NDC flagbearer made some claims about exit examination successes registered under her stewardship as education minister when he presented her to the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

The programme was live-streamed on John Dramani Mahama’s verified Facebook page and has since racked up 124,000 views and 3,800 comments.



Ex-president John Mahama speaking in an indigenous Ghanaian language-Twi [between minutes 49:00 to 49:30]  said:

” If you consider the West African Senior Certificate Exams they[students] wrote recently amidst paper leakages. During her stewardship as education minister, without leakage, Ghana emerged first for four consecutive years in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).”



“We [WAEC] don’t do country performance ranking. We only assess the performance of outstanding candidates and reward them.” West African Examinations Council (WAEC’s) Head of Public Relations, Agnes Teye-Cudjoe told GhanaFact in an interview.

The West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) is a type of standardized test for students from the five anglophone West African nations (Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Liberia).

Administered by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), the exit-exam is for both certification and entry to tertiary institutions.

But with the exception of subjects like Mathematics and English and a few other electives, the examination questions differ entirely among the member-states.

“Some member-states have courses that others don’t have, so mostly the questions are different,” WAEC’s Head of Public Relations Agnes Teye-Cudjoe told GhanaFact in an interview.

Despite the difference, students with the highest total score from across the exam union are recognized in the WAEC International Excellence Awards for their outstanding performance each year.


Top WASSCE Students

GhanaFact checks show between 2013 and 2016, Ghanaian students have been awarded consecutively at the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) Distinction Awards by WAEC (here, here, here and here).

However, “what WAEC has is overall best student for WASSCE, not best country under WAEC.” Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare clarified.
The awards which were instituted by the WAEC Endowment Fund in 1984 is aimed at recognising brilliant students who excel in the Council’s examination at the Senior High School level.

GhanaFact rates the claim that Ghana emerged first for four consecutive years in WASSCE as an exaggeration.

Our independent checks from the website of organisers of WASSCE, interviews with Civil Society and officials of WAEC show the council does not publish a country performance ranking as being suggested by the former president.

Meanwhile, efforts to reach a spokesperson for the former president, Joyce Bawah Mogtari to ascertain the veracity of the claim proved futile.