By Tabora Bojang
The chairperson of the governing board of the West African Examination Council, Dr Evelyn Kandakai has called on member countries of the institution to step up efforts to combat “the festering menace” of malpractice in public examinations which has taken a new twist in the digital era.
WAEC is West Africa’s foremost examining and assessment board founded in 1952 and is currently holding its 66th annual meeting of the main governing board known as the Council in Banjul. Delegates from Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Liberia and The Gambia are attending.
According to Dr Kandakai, one significant reason that examination malpractice continues to rear its ugly head with perpetrators being more innovative is that ”our member governments have left the fight against the menace to examining bodies alone.”
He explained: “In my three years at the helm of affairs of this leading examining body, I have watched with dismay the sheer waste of scarce resources in the fight against this societal ill. WAEC has used various forums to explain to governments and stakeholders in education that the perpetration of examination malpractice is a symptom of deterioration in the education sector and an end product of decadence in society.”
Dr Kandakai said for countries to revamp the ailing school system there is an urgent need to improve the state of infrastructure in schools, assure and place teachers at the centre of the educational systems and make adequate budgetary provisions for education. “After eliminating the root causes, efforts can be geared towards eradicating examination malpractice through promulgation of appropriate laws,” he added.
Claudiana Ayo Cole, The Gambia’s Education minister, commented that examination malpractice imperils the fabric of our society. She pledged her ministry’s resolve to intensify the fight against the problem.
“Education personnel found guilty of examination malpractice will be duly sanctioned. We have also consented to naming and shaming students found guilty of examination malpractice and in collaboration with WAEC we are ready to take any line of action within the limits of the law found necessary to combat the menace because we strongly believe in the ideals of WAEC as a model of cooperation and regional integration,” Minister Cole added.
The Gambia is the first country to successfully conduct the maiden edition of WASSCE examinations and officials urged the country to lead the steps and start a revolution aimed at revamping the education sector and eradicating examination malpractice in the sub-region.