Two Ways WAEC Can Prevent all Leakages of Examination questions and reduce mass cheating in the WASSCE-By Kojo Wiseman
Examination paper leakages and malpractices in a high stake examination like the WASSCE organized by WAEC is not new and limited to Ghana. However, the ability of the examination body to fight this canker is what is necessary to guarantee the integrity of the examination and the certificates awarded to students. Africa Education Watch reported widespread leakages of papers in the 2020 WASSCE and with the benefit of their partnership with key media installations in Ghana, they largely succeeded in discrediting the examinations conducted in 2020. Even though WAEC denied the 2020 report by Africa Education Watch, their denial was unconvincing to any objective and critical-minded person. It appears in the 2021 WASSCE, Africa Education watch has stepped up their game in monitoring and reporting of examination paper leakages and malpractices when they provided what they called “irrefutable evidence” of leakage in the Food and Nutrition Paper 3.
I do believe that WAEC will not deliberately leak examination questions to students but lack of investment in our assessment system has brought us far behind technology so much so that it has become practically impossible to fight examination malpractice and leakage with the arsenal currently available to WAEC. WAEC should have also known that their continuous denial of the reality that puts matters to rest was not Sustainable. The same technology that is aiding the examination leakage is what is leaving traces that are being used as hardcore evidence against them.
In this write-up, I would like to highlight two ways WAEC can effectively use to solve the problem of examination malpractice and leakages in Ghana. The two ways WAEC can prevent all leakages of examination questions and reduce mass cheating in the WASSCE include the following;
WAEC should discontinue the use of every Senior High School as an examination centre. They should collaborate with the universities to use their campuses as examination centres. For instance all schools in the central region should be made to write their exams at the university of Cape Coast. If the University is not big enough to accommodate all the schools some selected Senior High Schools in Cape Coast with proper facilities should be used as centres to augment the University of Cape Coast coast campus. If same measure is applied to all the regions WAEC will have to use only one depot in each region and significantly reduce the number of depots to about 10 nationwide. It is even possible to situate the depots in the universities therefore there will be no need to transport the question papers to the examination centres over long distances which normally results in the leakages of the papers. Also because the examination centres are few collusion at the centres will not be possible. Top WAEC officials can be deployed to supervise the centres and stay there throughout the duration of the papers. This will help eliminate mass cheating that tends to compromise the integrity of the examinations.
WAEC should also use the same method it uses to employ Examiners and Assistant Examiners to employ Invigilators and pay them well to invigilate the papers. The current system whereby the same teachers are made to Invigilate their students is not the best and contributes to mass cheating and several Malpractices by certain schools and students.
I believe if these two practicable suggestions are taken into consideration Examination paper leakages and organized cheating during WASSCE will be curbed to safeguard the integrity of the certificates given to our students in the eyes of the international community.
Kojo Wiseman (An Educationist and a Social Commentator)