This year’s West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), scheduled to begin on August 1, 2022, will be administered to candidates in Ghana alone.
This is because the other member-countries of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) – Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia and The Gambia – have reverted their examination calendar to May/June, instead of September/October, as it was in the past two years, occasioned by the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
All the five-member countries used to write the examination in May/June, until the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which lasted about nine months, threw the school calendar off gear.
Consequently, WASSCE was shifted to September/October for all the member countries. That went on for two years, and this year all, except Ghana, returned to the original May/June calendar.
Ghana did not revert immediately because it had drawn up a transitional calendar to return to the old system, when the academic year begins from September/October and ends in June/July the following year.
According to the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, Ghana was doing a gradual recovery learning, based on contact hours in the classroom.
For him, returning to the May/June calendar immediately would amount to disadvantaging the candidates because they would not have met the 1,134 contact hours.
The Daily Graphic is happy that the Ministry of Education, in conjunction with GES, has put in place plans to return to the old calendar by 2024, when Ghana would have come up to the same level with the other member countries.
We believe the insistence on contact hours is important, since that will enable teachers to help candidates to cover their syllabuses before writing the WASSCE.
Ghana has set a standard in this examination, attributing it to its insistence on contact hours, which many experts believe is a major contributor to the performance of candidates in the WASSCE over the past years.
While commending Ghana for standing its ground to ensure that candidates prepare very well to be able to write the WASSCE, we see our students writing the examination alone as a test case for all stakeholders in the educational sector to throw their weight behind WAEC to minimise, if not eliminate, examination malpractice such as leakage of examination questions.
Owing to the slight time differences among member countries of WAEC, some rogue website operators have links in all member countries, and in instances when supervision is weak in a particular country, it can affect the others.
It should also be known to both candidates and the public that Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia and The Gambia have already written their version of the examination and, therefore, there are past questions for WASSCE 2022 out there and candidates must be careful not to be tricked into parting with money in the name of securing ‘apo’.
The Head of the Ghana National Office of WAEC, Wendy Enyonam Addy-Lamptey, has reminded the public that the examination being conducted has totally different questions/parallel questions from the papers written in the other member countries.
We are happy with the assurance that all post-examination arrangements will be handled internationally, and that notwithstanding the late sitting, Ghanaian candidates will still compete for the National Distinction Award and the WAEC Excellence Award with candidates from those countries.
Writing the examination alone, therefore, is an opportunity for Ghana to salvage its name as not being the originator of malpractice, especially the leakage of the questions.
This places a burden on all citizenry to play a role in ensuring that the examination is written in an incident-free manner, devoid of malpractice and violence.
Let no one take delight in running to the social media to announce himself or herself as being the first to detect the leakage of a question or an examination malpractice. Instead, that person must link up immediately with the examining body, WAEC, to find a solution to that challenge.
We have no excuse to glorify examination malpractice; instead, we must all support WAEC by ensuring that the sanctity of the examination body is intact and the certificates it issues remain credible.
After all, it is not an issue of WAEC and us. If we discredit WAEC, we are discrediting ourselves.