Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch) has commended collaboration between the Ministry of Education, NIB, WAEC and the Ghana Police Service to ensure a credible WASSCE 2023.
According to Eduwatch, the commitment of the Ghana Police Service and the Judiciary is even more crucial for ensuring the expedited prosecution of all those arrested for various acts of examination malpractice and fraud.
It equally welcomed the collaboration between the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) and WAEC, facilitated by the Ministry of Education.
Eduwatch expressed that this has significantly enhanced the security of WASSCE questions.
“On Tuesday 26th September 2023, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) completed the conduct of the 2023 West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE)… Eduwatch commends the collaboration between the Ministry of Education, NIB, WAEC and the Ghana Police Service to ensure a credible WASSCE 2023.”Africa Education Watch
Eduwatch however revealed that its close monitoring of the conduct of the examinations has elicited some concerns which needs to be addressed. It noted that there were 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, Eduwatch called for an expedited prosecution with outcomes made public.
“We welcome the arrest of persons arrested by WAEC and security agencies for alleged collusion with candidates to cheat at someAfrica Education Watch
examination centres. A successful prosecution and publishing of outcomes is critical to building public and stakeholder confidence in the fight against examination malpractice and fraud.”
Touching on the escalation in examinations centre fraud, Eduwatch stated that due to the enhanced questions security, the strategy of cheating networks has intensified at the examination centres, especially where external supervisors are absent.
It highlighted that 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 GHC 1,000. While this is not new, the escalation requires a renewed response by strengthening examination centre external security. Inadequate capacity of WAEC to deploy WAEC external supervisors to all centres for all papers.”Africa Education Watch
By 2022, Eduwatch revealed that WAEC had the capacity to deploy its own external supervisors to only 20 per cent of WASSCE Centres at a given time.
Eduwatch condemns use of GES staff as supervisors
As submitted by Eduwatch in its 2021 and 2022 WASSCE monitoring reports, it expressed that the use of Ghana Education Service (GES) staff as supervisors is a major flaw in the security arrangement of WASSCE.
Justifying its stance, Eduwatch emphasized that many of them have vested interests in the outcome of the examinations and are potentially in 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. WAEC external monitors WAEC’s Roving Monitors approach to augment the deficits in their capacity to deploy stationed WAEC external supervisors is innovative.”Africa Education Watch
Furthermore, Eduwatch condemned instances where monitors were denied/delayed entry into examination centres to buy time and conceal evidence of cheating at examination centres.
It expressed that all school heads/owners cited by WAEC for preventing their monitors from entering in real time must be sanctioned by the GES and the National Schools Inspectorate Authority with outcomes published.
“The GES Code of Conduct and the fight against Exam Fraud Examination malpractice is major misconduct under section 3.32 (Public Examinations) of the GES Code of Conduct, with sanctions ranging from suspension, reduction in rank/salary to dismissal.”Africa Education Watch
Moreover, Eduwatch underscored that there is the need to escalate the sanctions regime to an outright dismissal. This, it indicated, would be the boldest ethical statement of the GES leadership against the participation of staff in examination malpractices and fraud.