Four categories of examination irregularities have so far been recorded in the ongoing West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASCCE) – Ghana only version, which enters its fifth week today.
The irregularities are impersonation of candidates, smuggling of mobile phones into examination halls by candidates, syndicate cheating in schools and restriction of access to school compounds for monitoring purposes.
Head of Public Affairs of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) National Office, Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, revealed these in a statement issued in Accra, on Friday, to inform stakeholders about issues emerging from the examination.
In relation to the impersonation, it said, such cases which hitherto were not recorded in school examinations, were on the increase, with some impersonators arrested.
In order to avert more occurrences, the WAEC said, supervisors of the examination had been directed to use Biometric Verification Device (Vericheck) to identify candidates.
On the use of mobile phones, it said, a number of candidates had been caught with mobile phones in examination halls and reminded candidates that their entire results would be cancelled when they are caught.
“The Council wishes to call upon school authorities, supervisors, invigilators, parents and guardians to ensure that candidates abide by this rule. Supervisors and invigilators are also being reminded of the ban on the use of mobile phones at examination centres,” it said.
The statement said intelligence had been received of some school authorities collecting monies from candidates and organising syndicate cheating in their schools.
“Perpetrators of these acts are being cautioned to desist from same. The Council has the mandate to de-recognise schools caught engaging in this malpractice. Candidates identified as having colluded would have their results cancelled,” it said.
According to the statement, some school authorities had adopted the practice of locking their school gates during the examination period with the aim of preventing WAEC Inspectors and Monitors from gaining access into their school compounds to monitor the examination.
“School authorities, especially those engaged in this act, are directed to desist from the practice as such activities amount to acts of examination irregularities”, it cautioned.
The Council said it was working closely with the Ghana Education Service, the National Intelligence Bureau and other security operatives to check infringements of the rules and regulations governing the ongoing examination.
It said some hot spots had been identified and monitoring of these centres had been intensified and therefore urged all stakeholders to collaborate with it to safeguard the integrity of the examination.
Only Ghanaian candidates are writing the WASSCE, which started on August 1, 2022, and would end on September 27, 2022.
This is because the country could not streamline its academic calendar after the COVID-19 break to enable its candidates to join counterparts in the four countries to write in May/June.
A total of 422,883 candidates — 203,753 are males and 219,130 females— from 977 schools, made up of 673 public schools and 304 private schools are writing the examination at 775 centres.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR