The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has revealed the latest sophisticated and dangerous schemes employed by some candidates in order to carry out examination malpractices.
While briefing newsmen on Tuesday, Oct.10, WAEC Registrar Dr. Iyi Uwadiae decried the rate of examination malpractice among students, disclosing that some private candidates have cultivated the habit of bringing guns and chemicals into the examination hall.
Uwadiae made the observation while announcing preparation for WAEC’s up-coming International Summit on Examination Malpractice in Lagos.
According to him, all member-countries of WAEC – The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone – will participate in the summit scheduled to hold between October 19 and 20 at the Academy Inn, WAEC International Office, Agidingbi, Lagos, to address the menace of examination malpractice.
Lamenting that examination malpractice was on the rise despite efforts of the council to curb it – with the number of cases growing three-folds in a 24-year period in Africa and particularly in Nigeria, the WAEC boss said:
“Waging war against examination malpractices has become very expensive and more difficult, particularly with the advent of social media.
“The most notorious challenge facing examining bodies and other educational institutions in WAEC member-countries is examination malpractice.
“Currently, the malaise has assumed dangerous and criminal dimensions on the heels of some advancements in technology, which created the smartphones, social media, among others.
“The council, in the five member countries, has introduced several measures, adopted various strategies and deployed technologies at great costs in the fight against the ever-festering menace.
“Misguided candidates and their adult collaborators, sometimes including school authorities, teachers, parents and, most recently, operators of rogue websites, have continued to devise ingenious and sophisticated methods of cheating, leading to an exponential increase in reported cases of fraud in public examinations.
“For instance, in the May/June 1993 WASSCE in Nigeria, the results of only 58,494 candidates were withheld because of examination malpractice, but by WASSCE for school candidates 2017, the number of candidates’ results similarly withheld had shot up to 214,952.
“We have done everything humanly possible to check malpractice. It is taking a new dimension where the lives of WAEC staff are threatened. They (candidates) are now armed. They now come to the hall with guns. For private candidates, they do that; for school candidates, some go to war with chemical weapons, putting drugs in the drinks of supervisors.”
According to Uwadiae, research studies had shown that one of the ways in curbing the ugly trend of examination malpractice was massive enlightenment campaigns.
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The Council expressed optimism that the mounting of public enlightenment campaigns would curb the ever-growing worrisome trends in examination irregularities.
The WAEC boss said that this would draw the attention of education stakeholders and the general public on the negative effects of the scourge to national development.
The registrar disclosed that at the summit, Emeritus Professor Pai Obanya will deliver the keynote address on the theme: “Examination Malpractice: The Contemporary Realities and Antidotes”.
Other papers to be delivered at the two-day event include: “Examination malpractice: A threat to national development” by Prof Jonathan A. Fletcher (Ghana); “Technology and examination malpractice” by Prof. Jonas Redwood Sawyerr (Sierra Leone); “Statutory provisions against examination malpractice” by S. P. Binga (ICPC, Nigeria); and “International collaborations in curbing examination malpractice” by Prof. Pierre Gomez (The Gambia).
Registrars/CEOs of WAEC, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), NECO and NABTEB and others are also expected to present papers at the summit.