Eduwatch commends stakeholders for WASSCE success
An Advocacy organisation, Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch), has commended four key stakeholders for their collaboration to ensure a credible 2023 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
It named the stakeholders as the Ministry of Education, the National Investigations Bureau (NIB), the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the Ghana Police Service.
However, it said the commitment of the Ghana Police Service and the judiciary was even more crucial for ensuring the expedited prosecution of all those arrested for various acts of examination malpractice and fraud.
In its statement on the examination which ended on September 26, 2023, Eduwatch said the collaboration between the NIB and WAEC, facilitated by the Ministry of Education, significantly enhanced the security of WASSCE questions.
“We, however, note some security breaches, leading to the circulation of questions for Social Studies 1, Biology 2 and Further (Elective) Mathematics 2 papers on social media about 45 minutes ahead of the scheduled time for the examinations.
While appreciating the swift investigations leading to the arrest of the culprits, we call for an expedited prosecution with outcomes made public,” it said.
It welcomed the arrest of persons by WAEC and security agencies for alleged collusion with candidates to cheat at some examination centres.
It said that a successful prosecution and publishing of outcomes was critical to building public and stakeholder confidence in the fight against examination malpractice and fraud.
“Due to the enhanced security of the question papers, the strategy of cheating networks has intensified at the examination centres, especially where external supervisors are absent.
Questions were solved by some recalcitrant teachers and transmitted via WhatsApp platforms to candidates at some centres.
Other schools had answers written on boards for students to copy, with students paying as much as GHS1,000,” it said.
The statement said the use of Ghana Education Service (GES) staff as supervisors was a major flaw in the security arrangement of WASSCE, as many of them had vested interests in the outcome of the examinations and were potentially in a conflict of interest.
“The number of GES staff arrested over the years for colluding with candidates to cheat affirms this position.
The Ministry of Education must resource WAEC to recruit adequate non-GES external supervisors at every centre during every paper,” it said.
Eduwatch said WAEC’s roving monitors' approach to augment the deficits in their capacity to deploy stationed WAEC external supervisors was innovative, and “condemned instances where monitors were denied/delayed entry into examination centres to buy time and conceal evidence of cheating at examination centres,” it said.
It was worth noting that acts that constituted examination malpractice in the past had evolved into today’s brisk business of examination centre collusion, where some students pay up to GH¢1,000 to some teachers for supervised cheating.
“With teachers at the centre, it is obvious the sanctions regime provided by the GES Code of Conduct is not deterrent enough.
There is the need to escalate the sanctions regime to outright dismissal,” and “This would be the boldest ethical statement of the GES leadership against the participation of staff in examination malpractices and fraud”.
“As far back as 2021, WAEC submitted at a stakeholder convening in Koforidua hosted by Parliament, with the Ministry of Education, security agencies and GES in attendance, that the sophistry in today’s examination malpractice and fraud was fast overtaking the deterrent relevance of the WAEC Act, 2006 (Act 719).