531,705 Candidates write BECE Monday

BY: Severious Kale-Dery
Mrs Wendy Enyonam Addy-Lamptey addressing the press in Accra yesterday. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR
Mrs Wendy Enyonam Addy-Lamptey addressing the press in Accra yesterday. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR

West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has declared its readiness to conduct this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), taking into consideration all the security measures and COVID-19 safety protocols.

“All the question papers have been produced under tight security, under the surveillance of the Ghana Police Service and WAEC security,” the Head of the National Office of WAEC, Mrs. Wendy E. Addy-Lamptey, said at a press conference yesterday, ahead of the examination, which starts from Monday, September 14 to Friday, September 18, 2020.

A total of 531,705 candidates, made up of 269,419 males and 262,286 females, are expected to write the BECE.

The candidates are from 17,440 schools and they will write the examination at 2,007 centres throughout the country.

Team work

Mrs. Addy-Lamptey appealed for support from stakeholders and the public to assist the council in its effort at safeguarding the integrity of its examinations.

She noted that the conduct of examinations was a shared responsibility, adding: “For instance, we rely on third parties and other individuals to provide services such as supervision, invigilation, and security. Any activity engaged in by such individuals which goes contrary to the tenets of the examinations will undermine the integrity of the examinations and the certificates issued,” she explained.

Worst form of fraud

She described examination malpractice as the worst form of fraud perpetrated, as it had negative effects on the development of the youth and the country.

“It has huge implications for our future leaders, as well as the development of our country,” she said.

She reminded candidates and the examination officials that mobile phones were not allowed at the examination centres, and that anyone found with a mobile phone would be appropriately sanctioned.

While wishing all the candidates success in the examination, Mrs. Addy-Lamptey encouraged them to focus on their books and advised them “not to be led astray by fake content on social media”.

She gave them an assurance that all of them could certainly pass their examination without cheating.

COVID-19 protocols

“The BECE will be administered under what has become known as the ‘new normal’. As such, we urge all candidates and examination officials to comply with all the health and safety protocols, including the washing of hands, wearing of nose masks, and maintaining physical distance.

“We also wish to remind all examination officials, especially our supervisors and invigilators, to be guided by the rules of the examination,” she directed.

She acknowledged the immense support that WAEC continuously received from the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service (GES), the Ghana Police Service, and all other security agencies.

Examination malpractice

Touching on the just-ended West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), Mrs. Addy-Lamptey expressed concern over the prevalence of examination malpractice by both candidates and some invigilators during the examination.

She displayed on a projected screen how some of the candidates and examination officials had engaged in examination malpractice.

She explained that some invigilators had sent mobile phones to the examination halls and used the devices to assist candidates by dictating answers stored on the phones to the candidates.

“Some proprietors of schools and invigilators were complicit in these unfortunate acts,” she said and hinted that the council had reported the teachers involved to the GES for administrative sanctions to be taken against them.

Steps taken

She said WAEC was compiling all the cases of malpractice which were recorded during the examination and gave an assurance that the cases would be put together with others which might be detected in the scripts of candidates during marking.

She explained that the list would be presented to the Ghana Examinations Committee, made up of representatives of CHASS, GNAT, the universities, and other stakeholders, and has the Director-General of the GES as Chairman.

“The committee will give approval for the necessary sanctions to be taken against the candidates. WAEC is thus not a judge in its own court,” Mrs. Addy-Lamptey explained to journalists.

Provisional examiners

Touching on the incident of a provisional examiners list finding its way onto social media, she expressed concern and added that initial investigations had given out some leads “which we are keenly following”.

“The incident has raised a number of concerns about the credibility of the marking process. We wish to allay all fears by emphasising once again that the various time-tested quality assurance mechanisms put in place by the council in relation to the marking process will be employed to ensure fairness to all candidates,” she said.