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21.03.2007 Education

Stiffer Sanctions For Exam Cheats

Candidates, teachers, heads of schools and officials of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) found to be involved in any form of examination malpractice will be severely delt with.

This follows the coming into effect of the WAEC Law, Act 719.

The Deputy Director of Legal Services of WAEC, Mr Frederik Selby, speaking in an interview, explained that the law essentially was to serve as a deterrent to those who had the intention of engaging in exam malpractices.

The punishment ranges from a fine of ¢6 million to ¢30 million as well as an imprisonment term of between one and three years, depending on the severity of the offence.

In some cases, offending candidates will have their papers for particular subjects or the entire examination results cancelled. They will also be barred from writing any examination conducted by WAEC for a period not less than two years.

Mr Selby said the law, for instance, says that a person who, before or during an examination is caught possessing an examination paper or is deemed to have foreknowledge of the paper would be fined between 12 and 30 million cedis and or serve an imprisonment term of not more than two years.

In addition, the council will disqualify the candidate from taking the exam and cancel the entire results as well as ban such a candidate from taking any of its examinations for two years.

Mr Selby said a person or candidate found to be in possession of a textbook, electronic device or material copied from notes, electronic device or textbook or received external assistance, would be disqualified from taking the examination.

In addition, “if the person has already taken a paper at the examination, the paper shall be cancelled by the council”.

According to him, any assault on an invigilator, supervisor, inspector or another candidate before, during or after an examination, would make the offender liable to a minimum fine of ¢12 million and a maximum of ¢24 million, and or be imprisoned for not more than 18 months as part of the punishment.

He said that with regard to the previous PNDC Law 255, punishment was not enough as the penalty ranged between ¢20,000 and ¢500,000 for offenders, adding that examination malpractices had taken a more sophisticated nature with candidates seriously misconducting themselves.

He said WAEC had started visiting schools to educate students and candidates on the new law and would circulate simplified copies of the law to all JSS and SSS in the country to enable teachers and candidates to be abreast of the law.

Mr Selby, therefore, appealed to all stakeholders to support WAEC in the fight to stamp out all forms of malpractice in examinations.

Story by Severious Kale Dery

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