By Alagie Manneh
The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education yesterday denounced the frequent leakage of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) question papers, saying it is responsibility of the examination council – WAEC –to address the matter.
Mr Lous Moses Mendy was speaking to The Standard in the wake of a recent unconfirmed report of exam paper leakage.
The ministry, PS Mendy added, “frowns seriously at this because it affects the authenticity of our results in terms of the questions being given to the students at the same time. They [the students] should see the [examination] paper[s] the same time and sit to it within the same given time. Once that does not exist, then it affects because if a student scores higher than the other, it cannot be justifiable since they weren’t subjected to the same environment”.
To curb the menace, PS Mendy said the ministry held consultations in the past and punished schools previously involved.
“I can tell you with confidence that the examination malpractices we used to register have seriously declined. In fact, in the last two years, the numbers have only been four cases in GABECE and six in WASSCE, as opposed to what used to happen before in this country and elsewhere in other member states.
“As a sector, this is not something we take lightly. We take it very seriously. There are instances where those schools that are found wanting are dealt with by what we called naming and shaming. Recently, we have threatened that if it does happen in any of those schools that are known for it, those principals or the heads of those schools will be demoted for those acts.”
According to PS Mendy, the national damage caused by the leakage of such confidential documents will be difficult to assess.
PS Mendy said that if the matter is not nipped in the bud, subsequently, Gambian education certificates will not mean anything.
“[It] means that if they should complete and want to go to university or tertiary, no university will take them seriously. That is a very dangerous thing. It means, after a child finishes grade 12, that child’s results cannot land him or her to any tertiary college or university, or when you present a WAEC certificate to any institution in the world or company, they will just take it and rubbish it because it doesn’t have value. Those are some of the dangers and we must avoid that,” he noted.