The West African Examination Council (WAEC) says it has tightened the security of the ongoing West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), to prevent leakage of question papers and other malpractices.
Measures outlined at a press conference, held in Accra, yesterday, on the ‘Ghana only version’ of the examination, included collaboration with the National Intelligence Bureau, to monitor the printing of question papers.
The Head of Public Affairs of WAEC, Ghana, Mrs Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, said the Council was working closely with security agencies to track and arrest dealers and operators of rogue websites.
Apart from inspecting and fortifying depots nationwide, she said, additional depots had been created for storing confidential materials, and question papers would be moved from strong rooms to depots in batches.
MrsTeye-Cudjoe said WAEC would ensure that the depots are located close to schools, to prevent the situation where schools start examination late or question papers released to them early.
She said some examination questions would be serialised, and number combination padlocks would be used in addition to ordinary padlocks for all security bags containing question paper packets.
Other measures, Mrs Teye-Cudjoe said, were issuance of question papers not earlier than 45 minutes before each paper’s start and enhanced inspection of malpractice-prone centres and surveillance of same.
She said schools accused of malpractices would be under surveillance, and that “We will be naming and shaming of schools that would engage in malpractice during the conduct of the examination, to serve as a deterrent to others.”
MrsTeye-Cudjoe cautioned candidates and members of the public on the operations of rogue websites and other social media groups as they were using past question papers administered in other member countries of WAEC to advertise their websites and their activities.
She said provisions had been made for candidates with special needs, including Braille papers for the blind, large print papers for candidates with low vision and additional time for candidates with cerebral palsy and autism.
Asked about reported debt owned by the government, Mrs Teye-Cudjoecould not mention how much had been disbursed to the Council, but said it had received enough to conduct the examination.
The Head of Legal Affairs at WAEC, Ghana, Rev. Victor Brew, said 10 cases of violations of WAEC rules, including persons linked to rogue websites, were at various stages of investigation while suspects in three cases had been convicted and fined by the court.
Only Ghanaian candidates are writing the WASSCE, which started on August 1, 2022, and would end on September 2,7 2022, 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