The Minister for Basic and Secondary Education recently announced the release of the results of the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) for the year 2023. The results, according to the ministry, show some little improvement compared to the previous year. There is however a downward trend on the results in English Language as a subject.
This year however, Gambian schools are receiving the results a little later than the neighboring countries like Ghana and Nigeria. Students and teachers alike raised concerns over the lateness of the results when it was announced earlier that other countries in the WAEC zone had already received their results.
When these concerns were raised, it was reported that the West Africa Examinations Council was conducting an investigation into how some of the question papers were leaked on WhatsApp groups prior to the children sitting to the examination. It has been rumoured that some children paid up to Ten thousand dalasis to receive question papers before the examination.
Examination malpractice is such a serious matter that everyone in the country should be concerned about it. The Government, through the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, in collaboration the West Africa Examinations Council, and indeed all schools in the country should work concertedly to ensure that this menace is nipped in the bud.
It is not difficult to imagine the dangers inherent in a school system where cheating becomes a norm and that students can engage in examinations malpractice in order to come out with results that they do not deserve. This will then filter to the universities and colleges leading to graduates who know next to nothing but have glowing certificates.
Every school should make it a policy to ensure that students do not have the chance to engage in this bad practice not only during the external examinations, but during the internal exams as well. In fact, schools should be stricter in the conduct of internal examinations so that by the time the children write the external examinations they will not be tempted to cheat.
If the students know that being caught cheating will attract such a heavy penalty as repeating a whole year or some other serious consequence, they will learn to avoid engaging in such a heinous practice and by the time they reach grade twelve, cheating will not even cross their minds.
We must safeguard the good name of the education system in the Gambia so that any results coming from any institution in this country will not be questioned or second guessed by others. Let us all work together to protect the image of our education system!