Beginning this year, the West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC) will use a biometric registration system to capture the data of candidates writing the November-December (NOV-DEC) West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Under the system, the fingerprints of candidates would be taken alongside the other particulars including their names, age and photographs.
The introduction of the system aims to, among other things, deal with the problem of impersonation; a major malpractice identified during the Nov-Dec, which is mainly for private candidates.
With the system, candidates will be verified before they enter any examination hall.
In 2009, for instance, the council recorded 357 cases of impersonation, while the figure shot up to 391 in 2010. In 2011, the council recorded 252 cases of impersonation.
The Head of Public Relations of WAEC, Mrs Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, who made this known, said that the initiative was part of measures being adopted by the council to stop examination malpractices.
“We are doing this to reduce examination malpractice, especially impersonation,” she said.
According to her, the council had so far distributed the software and machines to capture the fingerprints of candidates to 200 internet cafes in the country, adding that 800 more machines would be procured by the end of this week to bring the total to 1,000 nation wide.
“We have registered all the internet cafes that the machines for the biometric registration have been given to. They are supposed to charge GH¢ 2 per person,” Mrs Teye-Cudjoe said, and appealed to the cafes to stick to the approved amounts to be charged.
She, however, called on candidates to report any cafes that charged above the approved fee.
WAEC, she said, had taken the issue of malpractice seriously, and was adopting various measures to deal with the canker in its examinations.
WAEC last week asked the Ghana Education Service (GES) to take disciplinary action against 28 heads of senior high schools (SHSs), supervisors and invigilators for their actions and inaction that led to examination malpractices in the May/June 2012 West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
A total of 3,411 candidates in the May/June 2012 WASSCE were sanctioned for their involvement in examination malpractices. Out of the number, 1,123 candidates were caught taking foreign materials into the examination hall, 127 were found to have been involved in collusion reported by supervisors, while 2,003 collusions were detected in the scripts of the candidates.
The Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) this week called for collective action by all Ghanaians to deal with the problem of examination malpractice in the educational system.
That, it said, was because the solution to the problem did not only lie with school authorities but also parents, communities and opinion leaders, churches and leaders of other religions.
According to CHASS, stakeholders' failure to act would escalate the problem .
Mrs Teye-Cudjoe said the council did not anticipate any problem with the biometric system since the initiative was piloted last year.
She indicated that the first thing to do before registration for the Nov-Dec would be the capturing of candidates' fingerprints.
“You can even do the fingerprint and then go and come back later to complete the registration process”, she added.
Registration for the 2013 Nov-Dec started this week and would end on April 13. The process is part of the online registration.