Rev. John Ntim Fordjour, Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin South has called on the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to take preventive measures to check the impending Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) from leaking.
According to him the perennial leakages of the West Africa Examination (WAEC) papers was an unfortunate phenomenon which grossly undermined the integrity of the education system of Ghana and potentially mitigated against the sustenance of the international competitiveness of Ghanaian students.
Rev. Ntim Fordjour made the pronouncement on the floor of Parliament when he presented a statement on the challenges posed by examination leakages on the image of Ghana on the international front.
WAEC is an independent international examinations body established in 1952 and mandated to conduct examinations and award credible certificates to candidates. The jurisdiction of WAEC exists in Anglophone West African countries namely Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Gambia and Sierra Leone.
In Ghana, the operations of WAEC are regulated by the WAEC Law 2006 (Act 719). The two national examinations conducted by WAEC in Ghana are BECE and WASSCE for the first and second cycle institutions respectively.
Rev Ntim Fordjour stated that although WAEC had over the years battled with examination leaks, the mass leakages of examination papers characterising the past decade, called for serious concern.
He said despite recurring assurances by WAEC of strict measures put in place to check the menace, perennial examination leaks had become the bane of the examination body.
He cited for example, some of the massive leaks of examination papers including; the cancellation of the BECE papers in 2002, the annulment of the WACCE papers in 2008, and the 2015 cancellation of five (5) BECE papers.
Rev. Ntim Fordjour also stated that the most embarrassing of the menace occurred in 2016 where amidst the viral transmission of examination questions on various social media platforms hours prior to the scheduled exams, WAEC failed to concede leakage but rather insisted on describing the incidence as “foreknowledge of the question before commencement of examination”.
He said the advent of social media did not exacerbate the menace of examination leaks but rather exposed the extent of failure inherent in the examination system.
He said although this perennial challenges had existed in the country for decades, interventions by WAEC and relevant stakeholders were yet to prove sustainable, in the quest to put an end to it.
Rev. Ntim Fordjour further stated that although the government was not expected to unduly interfere in the activities of WAEC, it could not sit on the fence and look on unconcern for the challenges on the part of WAEC to jeopardise the integrity of the educational system and the future prospects of Ghanaian students.
He said the grave repercussion exacted on the society by this perennial challenges of WAEC examination leaks could not be overemphasized.
He said credibility of certificates awarded by WAEC in Ghana was at stake, as well as the psychological and financial strain that parents and innocent students were subjected to in preparations for re-sitting in events that exams cancellation was traumatising.
Rev. Ntim Fordjour also stressed the need for the country to learn from other jurisdictions that had successfully and consistently upheld of examinations over the years.
Mr Speaker, Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train up a child the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it”.
He said as a country, people seemed to have paid insufficient attention to moral values and the education thereof.
“The people cannot end lumping blame on WAEC and expect the resolution of the menace, without acknowledging the critical roles that the rest on the people as citizens, parents, teachers, students, heads of educational institutions, traders, printing press and security officials.”
Mr Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, MP for South Tongu in his contribution on the statement conveyed his best wishes to all candidates preparing towards the upcoming BECE exams.
He however called on WAEC to ensure that this year’s exams become leakage free as last year’s exams was incident free and successful.
He advised the BECE candidates to stay away from examination malpractices and be confident and not carried away by peer pressure.
He urged the candidates to be wary of people who claim to be examination agents and report such people to the police.
Mr Vincent Sowah Odotei, Deputy Minister for Communication and MP for La Dade Kotopon in his contribution revealed that apart from the examination leakages, some unscrupulous people had attempted to alter their examination results within the educational system.
He said the Ministry of Communication would come out with structures to ensure that all systems including educational institutions were protected from such bad nuts.
Mr Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor, MP South Dayi in his contribution congratulated all the candidates preparing towards the forthcoming BECE exams.
He encouraged the students to be serious with their books in order to pass well and take advantage of government’s Free SHS policy which would start in September, this year.
He alleged that it was not the students who were the source of leaks of examinations questions, but the workers of WAEC and those who set the questions.
He urged WAEC to take all the precautionary measures so that their staff do not leak the questions and turn round to blame the candidates for having access to the leaked papers before writing.