Cape Coast Oct. 5, GNA - The Central Region Branch Controller of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Mr Nii Omani Quaye on Wednesday advised private candidates registered to sit for the October/November Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE) which would start on Thursday and had not yet received their admission letters, to check the Internet and the post offices for them. Mr Quaye, who gave the advice in an interview with the GNA at Cape Coast, explained that there was a delay in the release of the letters from the WAEC Head Office, and that the branch offices, had had to sort out the letters before sending them to the various post offices for onward delivery to the candidates.
He, however, expressed surprise that some candidates had not yet received their letters, because all the letters were sent out the same day and some had received their letters, adding that the Council had also posted the various examinations centres on notice boards at its premises.
He said candidates who registered on line, were mostly the ones having problems because they were using the "wrong method" to access the information instead of the new method the Council had provided to enable them to do so.
He said in some cases too, the candidates themselves failed to turn up to check and rather sent their relatives "who do not know anything about the examination process thus making it difficult for the Council staff to assist them".
Mr Quaye said some candidates, also out of anxiety, did not crosscheck the information properly and had rushed to the Council offices with their friends and relatives, resulting in the premises being crowded.
According to him, some were just loitering around with the excuse that they were looking for last minute "apoo". He gave the assurance that the various invigilators and supervisors had been advised to treat as "irregular candidates", those who would present genuine problems with either their index numbers or centres, and was hopeful that things would be sorted out properly by Saturday.
At Wa, some private candidates in the Upper West Region, who registered for the examinations, have not yet received their admission notices that indicated their examination centres and index numbers. Mr Alfred Kofi Quarm, Branch Controller of the West African Examination Council at Wa, however, told the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday that out of about 3,400 candidates in the Region, less than 100 of them were yet to receive their notices.
He gave the assurance that no properly registered candidate would be denied the right to take the Examination.
Mr Quarm said any of the candidates, who would report at any of the 12 examination centres, which were spread over nine venues in Wa, would be allowed to sit for the examination after proper identification. At the time the GNA visited the Wa Office of WAEC, the Staff were busy releasing some of the admission notices, which had just been received from Accra to some of the candidates.
One of the officials of WAEC told the GNA that the problem arose because the computer could not capture the photographs presented by the affected candidates.
At Sekondi more than 7,000 private candidates would be sitting for the examination at 16 centres in the Western Region.
Mr Divine Agbenyo, Branch Controller at the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC), told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Wednesday that 14 of the centres are in Sekondi-Takoradi and the remaining two at Tarkwa. Mr Agbenyo said admission notices, which indicated the index numbers and examination centres of candidates, had been posted. He said some of the admission notices were posted last week Friday and the rest on Monday.
Mr Agbenyo said some candidates registered on the Internet but did not have e-mail addresses where their admission notices could be sent. He said, meanwhile, the WAEC had pasted the index numbers and examination centres of candidates on its notice boards at Sekondi and Tarkwa for the benefit of those who had not received their admission notices.
Mr Agbenyo said arrangements had been made to enable candidates who go to the wrong centres to take the examination there. He gave the assurance that all registered candidates would be able to sit for the examination.
At Kumasi WAEC has put in place adequate measures to ensure that candidates, who registered for the examinations in the Ashanti Region, write the various papers without difficulties.
Mr John Awini Amidini, Regional Controller of the Council, said these measures would ensure that candidates who even failed to access their admission notice through the Council's website or post would know their examination centres.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Kumasi on Wednesday, Mr Amidini said candidate names and index numbers as well as their examination centres had been placed on the Council's notice boards at its Regional Office in Kumasi and advised candidates to check their names to find their centres.
He attributed the delay in some candidates getting their admission notice to the enormity of the number of candidates, who registered for this year's examinations.
Mr Amidini said the Council registered about 33,000 candidates in the Region alone, which is the largest in recent times, stressing that, this made the compilation and processing of vital information about the candidates very difficult.
This, he said, coupled with the fact that most candidates gave wrong addresses when they were submitting their forms had resulted in some becoming stranded.
Mr Amidini, however, gave the assurance that all registered candidates would be able to write their examinations which begins on Thursday
At Koforidua anxious private candidates for the examination had formed long queues the local WAEC Office to find out their centres for the examinations, which begins on October 6.
The Eastern Regional Head of the WAEC, Mr Stanley Akuoku, however, told the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday: "I am not aware of the problems facing the candidates about getting their exam centres." According to him, the notification letters, which were supposed to inform the candidates of their centres, were dispatched to them about two weeks ago.
Mr Akuoku said to the best of his information, the people in the queue were candidates, whose registered subjects were not captured and so upon provision of the requisite evidence, WAEC was making arrangements for them to write those papers.
He said some of the candidates were also those, who for one reason or the other wanted to change their examination centres and the WAEC officials were making efforts to effect those changes for them. Mr Akuoku said all the necessary arrangements had been made for the conduct of the examinations at the six centres in Koforidua and 25 venues in the Eastern Region.
The candidates from Districts in the Region had been flocking the Offices of WAEC since Monday to find out their examination centres because they had not yet received notices of the centres from the Council that were supposed to have been posted to them. Between 1500 hours and 1600 hours, the GNA spoke to 30 candidates, some in the queue and some who were leaving in disappointment, seeking to know their examination centres.
One of the candidates from Koforidua, Ms Rita Mawusi said she had been coming to the offices of WAEC since Monday, adding, "every day I had to leave the WAEC Office without getting to the desks of the officers, who are assisting the candidates to know their centres through some WAEC documents."
Mr Akuoku said the invigilators and supervisors of the examination had been identified and trained for the examination, while all logistics and stationery had been sent to the centres and the necessary security arrangements had also been completed. He said the examination would be organized from October 6 to October 29 and a total of 13,158 candidates would be writing the examinations in the Region.
Mr Akuoko said the number of candidates, who registered in the Region this year, was 14 per cent more than last year's figure of 11,200.
In Accra, Miss Mary Feyi, Deputy Registrar, WAEC, said 144,426 candidates registered throughout the country to write the examination, which would begin tomorrow, October 6 and would end on October 29, 2005.
She said all things being equal the examination would start on Thursday and candidates, who were unable to receive their admission letters, could use their provisional admission notices, which was given to them when they registered and go to the centres.
"English Oral is the first subject that is taken in sets so if a candidate failed to join the first set he or she still stood the chance of joining the next set," she said.
Miss Feyi said the chaotic situation has occurred because even though WAEC posted admission letters to candidates two weeks ago and also placed them on the website most of the candidates did not receive their admission notices. She said WAEC introduced a new method of registering candidates this year whereby passport pictures were scanned in addition to the candidate's index number in-order to check impersonation and this caused the delay.
Miss Feyi said because WAEC had no control over the postal system it tried to use the website and sent notices to candidates to also check the website.
She said because many people used the Internet service everything got jammed up and they could not access it. She said sometimes candidates failed to produce correct addresses and others used addresses of their relatives who might not inform the candidate promptly.
Miss Feyi said the crowd was larger on Monday but some were able to check their admission notices on the website and that subsequently had reduced the numbers.
She said WAEC would continue with the scanning method because it was safer and easier to check impersonation, adding that to check this delay probably WAEC would send the notices six weeks ahead of the examination time.
Miss Feyi, who could not give the total number of centres countrywide, said there were 58 in Accra and 11 in Tema. The candidates had gathered outside the premises checking their centres while some were inside where their names were being called to come for their admission notice. 5 Oct. 05