Accra, Dec. 15, GNA - Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, on Wednesday deplored the spate of leakage of examination questions and challenged students to work on their own to achieve success.
Mr Baah-Wiredu also registered his displeasure at the involvement of some teachers in the leakage of questions saying that the Ministry and the Ghana Education Service (GES) would not condone the practice. The Minister expressed these sentiments at the West African Examination Council (WAEC) 2003 Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination Excellence and Long Service Awards ceremony held in Accra.
He recalled the amount of monies pumped into conducting examinations and urged all to assist in the fight against the menace. Mr Baah-Wiredu pointed out that the recent presidential and parliamentary elections constituted an examination for all saying, "there was no way for the people to cheat during the exercise".
He told students to avoid examination malpractices saying, "short cuts in life do not bring success in life ... laziness leads to poverty and hard work leads to wealth".
He stressed the need for students to learn hard to achieve high academic laurels, as "that is only way to you could succeed". The Minister told the students that there was going to be greater competition among students on the international scene from 2006 and urged them to strive hard to get to the top.
The Reverend John Annan Adotey, Head of National Office, WAEC, called for open discussion on leakage of examination questions, which, he said, was becoming a canker in the society.
Rev. Adotey said this could destroy the manpower base of the nation stressing that real standards of candidates could not be assessed when candidates got access to leaked questions.
He said the rate at which the country's universities and other tertiary institutions were expelling candidates for poor academic performance lent credence to that fact.
He said WAEC was revising its structures and security procedures to curb leakages.
Rev. Adotey expressed regret that while some candidates were burning the midnight oil to excel in their exams, there were some lazy ones, who indulged in the unhealthy habit of cheating.
He said the 2002 SSSCE recorded 332 irregularity cases as against 322 in 2001. "Unfortunately in 2003 the figure increased sharply to 1,190 cases, an increase of over 358 per cent over 2002 figure." This he attributed to collusion and appealed to teachers' associations to support their bid to curb the canker.
"It is my conviction that the way out of the complex societal problem is for each and every member of our society to put our shoulder to the wheel.
"All of us, parents, teachers, supervisors, invigilators, the judiciary, traditional rulers, clergy, media have a role to play in wiping out this canker from society."
He stated that the general performance of candidates in the July/August 2003 Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSSCE) was encouraging saying more than 50 per cent of candidates for all core subjects passed at grade 'E' with the best performance in social studies where candidates had a total cumulative pass of 75 per cent.
Rev. Adotey said although candidates had more than 50 per cent pass in Mathematics and English Language, the performance could have been much better.
He said WAEC's observation from the Chief Examiner's Report indicated some weakness in candidates' script such as inadequate grasp of the subject matter, poor computational skills and inappropriate use of the English Language.
He said the Chief Examiner recommended wide coverage of syllabuses, teaching of candidates on how to answer questions and reading of English books.
In addition, he said, the Chief Examiner also urged teachers to give students more practical exposures in the science and technical subjects.
The 2003 SSSCE excellence award went to Michael Gbikpi Benissan, a former student of Presbyterian Boys Secondary School, Legon, who was adjudged the over all best student in the General Sciences.
He received a certificate and cash prize of 200 dollars. Ms Shirley Awuarasi Mensah and Ms Betty Appenteng Appiah former students of Holy Child Girls School and Wesley Girls High School took second and third positions, respectively.
They received certificates and cash prizes of 160 and 140 dollars respectively.
All the award winners are now pursing various courses at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi. Their respective schools also received plaques.
Michael Gbikpi Benissan on behalf on his colleagues expressed their gratitude to their parents and relations and urged other candidates to study hard by spending more time on their books. Thirty staffs of WAEC were honoured for serving the Council for 20 years.