A couple of weeks ago, two interesting stories on education featured prominently in the media, resulting in mixed feelings and varied comments from Ghanaians.
The first one was the presentation of awards to five students who distinguished themselves in the 2014 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
According to the story, Mickail Hasan, Kenyah Blaykyi, and Archibald Enninful, apart from emerging the over all best candidates in Ghana also topped in all WAEC member countries.
Deborah Attuah and Elvis Okoh-Asirifi were adjudged the best General Arts and Business students respectively.
Their achievements have brought honour and pride to themselves, parents, the schools they attended, and the country.
In a related development, a total of 8,051 candidates were involved in examination malpractices in the 2014 WASSCE. The report further explained that collusion detected in scripts constituted the highest malpractice recorded in the examination.
The stories create different pictures of students who are prepared to brace the odds no matter the challenges, and those who have failed to use their time judiciously, but preferred to take advantage of systemic failures to cheat in an examination.
The award-winning students in the first category were purposeful, determined, and they maintained an unwavering spirit, and shut the door to all unnecessary activities which often occupy the minds of the youth to be successful in their education.
They had persistently charted an enviable path for themselves and jealously guarded against elements which had the potential to derail their progress.
Having made such a tremendous progress, there was no doubt in the minds of stakeholders that the sky was the limit, and they were bound to be successful.
It is believed that the awards will spur them on to achieve greater laurels in their education and even in their respective fields of endeavour in the future.
On the contrary, candidates who were caught in the web of examination malpractices should have themselves to blame, because prior to the commencement of the examination, the rules governing the conduct of the examination were spelt out to them.
This was intended to serve as early warning that those who went contrary to the rules would be punished. Their actions, therefore, suggested that they were aware and prepared for the consequences.
A serious student knows the essence of every minute on the academic calendar; hence adequate preparations are made to complete the syllabus to derive maximum benefit.
Some students take pride in leading gangs, leaving the campus without permission, pilfering, and participate in events to show that they are valiant. Therefore, in the event of acts which border on indiscipline, they are the first suspects.
Academic progress can only be attained with persistent efforts at studies. There is a difference between serious academic work and those who add to the numbers as students.
In school, there are some brainy students who do not study but are always among the first in class. So students who follow them blindly should have themselves to blame.
Instead of studying, they take pleasure in unnecessary things and look for opportunities to cheat in examination. With the sanctions from the West African Examinations Council, it is expected that they will learn from their mistakes and quickly make amends for a bright future.
By Joseph Edu Archison