Yesterday, candidates of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) wrote the Oral English paper.
On Monday, August 16, the 2021 WASSCE candidates began their examination with the practical subjects. The examination is expected to continue until October 8, 2021 when the curtain will finally be brought down.
The WASSCE is of importance in many ways for not only the candidates writing it, but also Ghana as a nation.
For the candidates, it is a yardstick for their progression on the academic ladder and their future, while for Ghana, its integrity and reputation is at stake.
That is why it is the collective responsibility of all stakeholders, particularly policymakers, teachers, parents and the candidates to ensure that the examination is conducted and written in a free and fair environment, devoid of any malpractice.
The Daily Graphic believes that these primary stakeholders, including civil society organisations, have a role to play to help protect the future of the candidates and the integrity of our motherland in the eyes of the world.
It is a fact, however, that since the examination is conducted by human beings, the possibility of the unscrupulous ones trying to outsmart the system is real and it behoves all of us to liaise with WAEC, the body responsible for conducting the examination, in the event of such an unfortunate incident instead of rushing to the social or traditional media to announce it.
That is why the Daily Graphic finds it unfortunate that at the start of the practical papers, the Africa Education Watch (EDUWATCH), a CSO in the area of education, went to social media on a seeming leakage of one of the papers, news some traditional media also spread.
We definitely support the role civil society organisations play as watchdogs to ensure an incident-free examination, but in doing so, let us be circumspect in the way we communicate the lapses so as not to drag the image of WAEC and, ultimately, Ghana in the mud.
The Daily Graphic believes that monitoring can be done without the fanfare if the real intention is to help improve the conduct of the examination.
We acknowledge the role EDUWATCH is playing in the education sector, but wish to advise that such information can better be managed by channelling it to the WAEC, which will, in turn, furnish the national security so they can track them down.
Let us not give these unpatriotic citizens, who peddle false information on the leakage or who go great lengths to cause the leakage, the oxygen to operate by recognising their activities which tend to lay the blame on the doorstep of WAEC.
Rather, let's join hands to flush them out of the system by helping both the WAEC security and the national security with adequate information to deal with them.
This era of social media makes such exercise extremely difficult to carry out without the full cooperation of stakeholders and indeed the entire society.
Indeed, examination malpractice is not peculiar to Ghana. The rest of the member countries as well as other examination bodies throughout the world are grappling with the situation.
In some situations, internet connectivity is disabled within the period of the examination. That, for now, is not a feasible position, but that is how serious examination malpractice is globally and how desperately some countries are dealing with it.
We believe the time has come for our telcos to, as a matter of national interest, help track down the originators of such information and also, the owners of the rogue websites.
The Daily Graphic uses this opportunity to urge the candidates to focus on the examination and not to be distracted by unscrupulous ill-gotten wealth seekers.
We also wish to appeal to stakeholders, particularly the invigilators, supervisors and security personnel to guard against any attempt to compromise the integrity of the examination.
The success of the over one-month-long examination being held across the country cannot be left in the hands of only the West African Examination Council (WAEC).
All of us have a role to play in ensuring the conduct of a credible examination and not only WAEC.