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03.08.2019 Feature Article

Koo, Na Waah For WAEC Oh!

Koo, Na Waah For WAEC Oh!
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K1 — KOO, did you hear of the way the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) is dealing with our future administrators?

K2 – Koo, didn't I, though? That's all the young folks in my house have been discussing. MORNING! NOON!! NIGHT!!!

–Koo, it affects the future of so many young people!

— I swear!

— Too many! I mean if you conduct an examination and withhold the results of even 20 out of 2,000 (that is 1%) people would say you have withheld too many results. But if you withhold the results of 48,000 candidates…

– 48.000?

– Yes!

o But that's equivalent to the total intake of 1,000 school each of which has a population of 4,800?

o Yes!

o Oh that's not just careless but wicked.

o But would you rather the Exams Council gave them their results even though it suspects foul-play?

o Ha, I like this sort of idiotic questioning…

o Koo, you're insulting me?

o No, I'm not insulting you. I am insulting the question!

o But ….

o Please let me finish what I was saying. People in this country are too fond of running away from arguments they don't like, by claiming that the person with whom they are arguing is “insulting” them! Everything turns on alleged insults. If you don't agree with a policy and you say so — especially in clear and strong terms — they say you are insulting whoever promulgated that policy….

o But only a fool can propound a foolish policy, not so?

o No! A policy – if it is a company or government policy — is usually worked out by one or two people, who then put it forward to ten or twenty people, who sift it and add or subtract to it, so that by the time it reaches the public, even the originator of the policy might not recognize it!

o So, a wise person might be the indirect progenitor of a stupid policy?

o Absolutely. That's why policies should, ideally, be tested in clever ways before they reach the public.

o So what's that got to do with WAEC and the withholding of exam results?

o By finding it necessary to withhold results and thus cause so much pain to 48,000 students, who, all of a sudden, find their career paths obstructed, WAEC has perpetrated a grievous blow on their collective egos.

o But WAEC couldn't have done it without reason!

o Fair enough. But go beyond whatever reason it had for withholding the results. Suppose it was because some students were found to have cheated. Is it not because either WAEC had a weak invigilation system? Or a ruinously leaky method of setting questions and sending them to the examination centres?

o But WAEC blamed the withholding of results on various forms of examination malpractices….”

o Yes! And it should have specified what those malpractices were. You can't just say (and I quote): “The 48,555 [withheld results] represent 14.12% of the entire 346,094 candidates entered for the examinations….” How did the 48,555 students MANAGE to carry out their malpractices? What is the system operated by WAEC that is so easy to outwit with MALPRACTICES? This is the cyber age, where both ALGORITHMS and ENCYPTION have made great advances. And yet WAEC's system is so backward that no less than 48,555 could outwit it?

o Koo, I am beginning to see your point.

o Well, I am glad. Ghana is not the only country in which examinations are held. And definitely, Ghana is not the only nation whose students would cheat if they got a chance to do so. That's why systems have been evolved….

o That's why you never hear of examination cheats managing to outwit the systems used in Singapore?

o Or the UK. Or the USA. In the USA, I hear recently that the systems are so good that they are able to detect even what we might call “INDIRECT malpractices”, such as film stars and businessmen using their social contacts to obtain admissions into the most prestigious institutions for their children!

o And here, WAEC still has to contend with the leakage of exam papers?

o Or corruption on the part of those who mark papers?

o Or what or what or what! They are so incompetent that they would much rather undermine confidence in the entire examination system than specify what went wrong and how they are going to prevent that from happening again.

o They have done great harm, haven't they? Can you imagine that results that were once regarded as sacrosanct because the University of Cambridge guaranteed their authenticity are now to be questioned by institutions that were once regarded by Ghanaians as “beneath” them?

o Ei, na waah for WAEC ooh! If I were the Minister of Education…..!

o Don't worry. NAPO won't let this go unpunished. The guy will use his training as a medic to (1) diagnose the disease suffered by WAEC that produced symptoms by way of the “malpractices”;

o (2) consult other experts if he's not satisfied with the diagnosis produced by his own institution's efforts; (3) arrive at the best prognosis possible; and then PRESCRIBE the best treatment available for that particular disease.

o Ei, you trust NAPO paaa?

o No, it isn't NAPO that I trust, but the scientific method he was taught as a medic.

o Let's hope you're right. For every young person of ambition regards exam results as the beginning of everything great. I remember learning by candlelight to pass my GCE. I remember the “extra classes” I had to pay for, to help my own children pass the entrance exams. I remember what part my success in the GCE played in my subsequent career. WAEC cannot be allowed to ruin so many children's lives with this mass withholding of 48,555 results. Even if the results are eventually cleared and released, there will always be a whiff of suspicion about the performance of this year's candidates….

o Yeah. It's unfair to them. Very unfair!


Cameron Duodu
Cameron Duodu, © 2019

Martin Cameron Duodu is a United Kingdom-based Ghanaian novelist, journalist, editor and broadcaster. After publishing a novel, The Gab Boys, in 1967, Duodu went on to a career as a journalist and editorialist. Column Page: CameronDuodu

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