The Minister for Education ought to let Ghanaians know what immediate steps he is taking to address the worrisome findings of the Africa Education Watch Independent Assessment Report on the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) 2020, administered by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).
Urgent action is required because WASSCE 2021 is just around the corner, slated to commence sometime in September. Will WASSCE 2021 see worse irregularities and malpractices or an improved integrity? This will logically depend on whether or not the Minister, Ministry of Education and WAEC will admit the findings of the Assessment Report and give effect to the recommendations made by African Education Watch.
The Assessment by the respected Education think tank uncovered massive and widespread irregularities and leakages of examination papers. As captured in the Report, two categories of irregularities occurred during the WAEC administered 2020 WASSCE: a) leakage in examiners’ contact details, which was unprecedented, and b) widespread leakage in some examination questions.
Yet, there is no information of any prosecutions, after assurances of investigations by WAEC and some initial arrests ten months ago. Ghanaians will like to see expedited action on criminal investigations and prosecutions into reported irregularities at 2020 WASSCE, especially the leakage of examiners’ contacts from WAEC’s headquarters, and the leakage of questions as admitted by WAEC.
Wrong doing must be punished. Those profiting in the examination value chain, especially those who leaked the examiners details at WAEC’s headquarters must be sanctioned. I agree with Africa Education Watch that if no punitive action is taken against those whose deliberate actions compromised WASSCE 2020 now, the issue of having a leak-proof examination system will prove elusive to Ghana. By default, WASSCE 2021 is bound to witness even more irregularities, malpractices and leakages if no one is punished for same with WASSCE 2020.
A bipartisan investigation of irregularities, leakages of examination papers and related malpractices, which have characterised WAEC administered WASSCE from 2010-2020 is necessary. Such an investigation should make consequential recommendations to end examination question leakages in Ghana. I will initiate moves in this regard.
The integrity of the examinations our wards write must be of concern to us. The integrity of the certificates our wards receive must occupy our attention. The world is watching.
Dr. Clement Apaak
M.P, Builsa South and Deputy Ranking Member, Committee on Education