Rise in examination malpractice needs cure

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has revealed that a recent study it conducted showed a significant increase in examination malpractice among candidates in the country. 


The findings show a staggering rise from two per cent in 2021 to 10 per cent in 2023, with over 44,000 candidates involved in malpractice last year alone. The study's identification of collusion, foreign materials and impersonation as common forms of malpractice, and the regional disparities in examination malpractice are telling indicators of a systemic problem that requires a multifaceted solution.

The WAEC’s punitive measures, though well intentioned, have failed to stem the tide of malpractice, highlighting the need for more innovative and effective strategies. Examination malpractice is a serious academic offence that undermines the integrity of the education system.

When students engage in malpractice, they cheat themselves out of the opportunity to genuinely learn and understand the material, ultimately hindering their personal and intellectual growth.

Also, malpractice creates an unfair advantage, distorting the evaluation process and devaluing the hard work and efforts of honest students. The habit also perpetuates a culture of dishonesty and unethical behaviour, potentially spilling over into other areas of life.

It can lead to a lack of accountability, a disregard for rules, and a mentality that success is achievable through shortcuts rather than dedication and hard work. This can have far-reaching consequences, damaging not only individual reputation but also the reputation of educational institutions and the society at large.

Even more importantly, exam malpractice undermines the validity and reliability of assessment results, making it challenging for educators to accurately evaluate student performance and identify areas where students require additional support. This can lead to inadequate remedial measures, ultimately affecting the quality of education and the preparedness of students for future challenges.

The study's recommendations, including the use of metal detectors, computer-based examinations and regularisation of supervisor and invigilator payments, are welcome suggestions that warrant serious consideration. Moreover, the call for a shift from paper-based to computer-based examinations and the use of CCTV to monitor examination centres are measures that can help restore the integrity of the education system.

The Ghana Education Service's efforts to improve education, including the provision of professional development allowances for teachers, are also laudable, but more needs to be done to address the root causes of examination malpractice.

The Daily Graphic views the alarming rise in examination malpractice as a symptom of a larger issue - the lack of moral discipline in our education system. We believe that it is imperative to instil integrity and moral values in our students, so they can excel without resorting to cheating.

Only then can we be assured that our certificates are a true reflection of the knowledge and skills acquired. We draw inspiration from institutions such as Ashesi University, where students take examinations without supervision, a testament to their integrity and moral discipline.

These students go on to secure top-class jobs in leading international firms, a reflection of their quality and character. This is the kind of education we should strive for in Ghana - one that produces individuals who can hold their own anywhere in the world, without resorting to cheating.

The Daily Graphic urges stakeholders in the education sector to evaluate our approach to examinations and focus on building character and integrity in our students. We must create an environment where students can learn and grow without feeling the need to cheat. This requires a concerted effort from teachers, parents and policymakers to prioritise moral discipline and ethical values in our education system.

The onus is on WAEC, the government and other stakeholders to work together to ensure the credibility of WAEC certificates and uphold the value of education in the country.
The time for action is now.

We cannot afford to let examination malpractice erode the confidence in our education system. Let us work together to find a lasting solution to this perennial problem and ensure that the future of our youth is not compromised by this scourge.

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