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17.03.2006 Regional News

Help curb examination malpractices - WAEC Official

By GNA

Tamale, March 17, GNA - Mr Mohammed Adam Abdul-Rahaman, Northern Region Branch Controller of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) on Thursday, called on authorities of Senior Secondary Schools and stakeholders in education to help curb the high incidence of examination malpractices and leakages in the country. He said during the 2005 Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE) in the Northern Region 52 cases of examination malpractices were recorded dominated by impersonation.

Mr Abdul-Rahaman made the call at a symposium organised by the regional branch of WAEC as part of activities marking its 54th anniversary celebration in Tamale. The theme for the symposium was "WAEC in Nation Building." Other topics discussed included "The role of WAEC in the Ghanaian Educational set-up" and "The need for honesty and fairness in examinations for a better youth development in Ghana." He said statistics available showed that examination malpractices were on the increase at the SSSCE level and lower at the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) level. "Even with the SSSCE the malpractices are few for examinations conducted for students in school than private candidates," He added. Mr Abdul-Rahaman said this indicated that at the basic school level candidates were morally upright and observed examination regulations more than students at the senior secondary school level.

Mr Abdul-Rahaman said effects of these examination malpractices were that individual candidates, subjects or entire results were cancelled, and sometimes in very serious cases some candidates were banned, from writing examinations conducted by WAEC for some years. He said despite these setbacks, Ghana office of WAEC would not relent in its efforts to achieve perfection in the conduct of examinations in the country.

Mr Abdul-Rahaman said the office would continue to join efforts with other member countries to protect image of the council that had been established internationally as far as the conduct of examinations was concerned. He said with the development of the Internet, entries for some WAEC examinations in Ghana and Nigeria could be registered on-line adding that some private candidates for the 2005 SSSCE examination used the facility in Ghana. Mr Abdul-Rahaman said results of examinations conducted by WAEC in Ghana had also been linked on the Internet and could be accessed by candidates. He said WAEC had in addition, established an Endowment Fund to promote educational development in member countries, awards to candidates who excel in the council's examinations and support educational projects related to WAEC in member countries.

Mr Abdul-Rahaman said this year, the council decided to assist a deprived school in each of the regions to benefit from the Fund with donations of assorted textbooks. Saint Monica's Primary and Junior Secondary School in the Tolon/Kumbugu District in the Northern Region is one of the beneficiaries. He said as a result of the introduction of the West African Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) in the country this year, WAEC was sensitising candidates of selected schools on the examination.

Beneficiary schools in the Northern Region selected for the sensitisation programme are, Damongo Senior Secondary School, Ndewura Jakpa Senior Secondary/Technical School, Salaga Senior Secondary School, T.I Ahmadiyaa Senior Secondary School, Salaga and Kalpohin Senior Secondary School, and Tamale Senior Secondary School. Mr Abdul-Rahaman said although there were plans to continue with the sensitisation programme it might not be possible to cover all schools in the region before May/June this year for the examination. He therefore, asked school authorities to help sensitise their candidates on the examination from the information received at the symposium.

Alhaji Mohammed Haroon, an Assistant Director of Human Resource Development of Tamale Metropolitan Education Office spoke on the topic: "The role and importance of WAEC in the Ghanaian Educational Set-up." He said the council performed the selection function of education for the educational set-up through conduct of examinations to put people in their right fields of study to produce the human resource needed for the national development.

Alhaji Haroon said WAEC played a very important role in the harmonization of the country's curriculum, to determine whether products of the educational system would become useful citizens. He said WAEC through its examination, rules and regulations, also instilled discipline in the youth to become future leaders of the country. Alhaji Haroon said WAEC also served as a "quality control mechanism" which ensured that assessment of candidates was in line with standard assessment of the educational system worldwide.

Mr Iddrisu Neindow, Headmaster of Tamale Islamic Senior Secondary School called on WAEC to take the security of its examination questions more serious in view of the increasing cases of examination leakages and malpractices in the country. "We all know that parents, teachers, pupils and students go all out to find loop-holes to cheat in examinations," He said. Mr Neindow, expressed concern about this bad habit that had been inculcated into the youth during their formative years and they grew with it.

He therefore, called on stakeholders in education to take a serious look at the problem and help instil discipline in the youth. "If we do not put honesty and fairness in our examinations, we shall end up leaving the country in the hands of cheats, unqualified people and instead of building we shall be destroying the country," He added.

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