Kwaku Dankwa (right) addressing participants in the seminar
Kwaku Dankwa (right) addressing participants in the seminar
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WASSCE malpractice on the rise - Study reveals

A recent study has revealed a worrying trend of rising examination malpractice in the country.

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The study, which covered the period between 2021 and 2023, showed a significant increase in the percentage of candidates involved in examination malpractice from two per cent in 2021 to 10 per cent in 2023.

Seminar

Presenting the findings of the study at a seminar organised by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) for stakeholders, the Acting Head of the Accra Section of the Research Department of WAEC, Kwaku Dankwa, noted that while the percentage may seem minimal, the actual numbers were alarming, with over 10,000 candidates involved in malpractice in 2021, and rising to 44,586 in 2023.

The study identified collusion, bringing foreign materials and mobile phones to the examination hall and impersonation as some of the common forms of malpractice.

The study also found that examination malpractice was more prevalent in certain regions such as Bono East, Ahafo, Ashanti, Central and Eastern regions. He said the research found that WAEC had in place punitive measures, including cancellation of results and barring of candidates found guilty of malpractice, aimed at addressing the situation but examination malpractice continued to thrive.

The study suggested measures to address examination malpractice, including the use of metal detectors, computer-based examinations, serialisation of examination questions, and regularisation of supervisor and invigilator payments.

For their part, stakeholders at the seminar called for a collective effort to address the issue, emphasising the need for a lasting solution. Respondents in the study also suggested that WAEC move from paper-based to computer-based examinations, and use CCTV to monitor examination centres.

Others recommended that supervisors should not be allowed to work in their schools. However, the findings and recommendations of the study have raised concerns about the integrity of the education system in Ghana, highlighting the need for stakeholders to work together to address examination malpractice and ensure the credibility of WAEC certificates.

Concern

The Director in Charge of Administration of WAEC, Emmanuel Brew, speaking on behalf of the registrar of WAEC, Puteh Bah, expressed concern over the growing trend of examination malpractice among candidates sitting the WASSCE.

Participants in the seminar

Participants in the seminar

He said with the study, WAEC was taking a bold step in addressing the long-standing issue of examination malpractice with a comprehensive study aimed at understanding and curbing the problem.

He said the study was the first of its kind in Ghana designed to tackle the issue of examination malpractice as it “erodes the confidence that the world has in our examinations, and we cannot allow that to happen”.

He said the research, which aimed to assess the effectiveness of WAEC's operations and identify ways to combat examination malpractice, involved stakeholders from various sectors.

"We didn't want to grade ourselves, so we went out to talk to stakeholders and get their feedback," he said.  The study's findings and recommendations, he said, would be taken up and the necessary steps would be put in place to address the issues uncovered.

"We have been thinking about our operations and with this research, we now have scientific proof to implement effective interventions," the director said.

Government effort

The Director of Schools and Instructions Division of the Ghana Education Service, Prince Charles Agyemang-Duah, said WAEC had long grappled with examination malpractice, leakage and other issues but this study marked a significant shift in the council's approach.

He said by seeking outside expertise and stakeholder input, WAEC had demonstrated its commitment to transparency and accountability. He mentioned some interventions the government was putting in place to improve education such as producing professional development allowances for teachers and other programmes to motivate them.

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