The Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch), in its latest WASSCE Ghana Monitoring Report, 2022, has urged the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) to thoroughly investigate all incidents of fraud, and prosecute those found culpable in this year’s West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE).
According to Eduwatch, not allowing these culprits to go scot-free because exams are over would serve as enough deterrent for institutions that will be masterminding similar practices or even more advanced ones in the future.
The monitoring report explained that the use of NIB for the first time in policing the printing of questions and transportation reduced leakages at that stage, which is well recommendable; but this also resulted in high degrees fraud in examination hall and its surrounding areas that must be dealt with sternly.
“There is considerable inertia of law enforcement and administrative bodies, either informed by limited capacity or institutional will to identify and sanction all perpetrators of this fraud timeously and decisively, thereby creating an environment of impunity among supply side actors such as school authorities, question marketers, supervisors, and security officials.
Some teachers and school authorities, contrary to their professional duty as invigilators, supervisors, tutors and mentors of discipline, have rather become stakeholders in this fraudulent business.
“The NIB must investigate the leakage of questions, the outcome of which must improve its security systems and accountability. Persons responsible for the leakage, and those culpable for commercialising leaked questions must be sanctioned by the law,” stated the report.
Furthermore, Eduwatch has mentioned that to minimise examination malpractice, CCTV cameras should be installed at all examination centres, including their immediate precincts, and monitored by external agents.
Security of external supervisors and monitors
The role of external supervisors and monitors is critical in ensuring quality in the conduct of examinations. However, the lives of most of this personnel have been at risk while discharging their duties. While some external supervisors have been compromised to condone examination fraud in schools, other incorruptible ones are threatened, targetted and attacked by some candidates and school authorities.
For instance, the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) reported that on Monday, 12th September, 2022, at Santa Maria in Accra, a WAEC monitor was beaten after monitoring the conduct of the examination at Santa Maria SHS.
This was due to poor security after the discharge of his duties. WAEC again indicated that some centres closed their main gates to prevent their monitoring teams from even entering their compound. An Eduwatch monitor in Wassa-Akropong reported that the security officer at the main gate of one of the centres was ordered to delay entry of any external supervisor or monitor, and alert authorities accordingly before allowing entry.
These attacks are possible because external supervisors and monitors have inadequate security, forcing some otherwise good ones to either condone the sub-culture of exam fraud due to the fear of being harmed, or resign.
Eduwatch is, therefore, urging the need to punish these institutions and all individuals involved seriously to serve as a deterrent while the body also strengthens the security of supervisors and monitors to boost their confidence.
Again, it is urging the Ministry of Education and Parliament to support the amendment of the WAEC Act to criminalise the various new types of examination fraud.