The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) on Tuesday decried the rate at which students, parents and other stakeholders secretly and immorally connive to cheat before and during examination, pointing out that if the ugly trend is not quickly checked it has the capacity to destroy the future of the students.
According to the council, mounting of public enlightenment campaigns would serve as a panacea to break the ever-growing worrisome trends in examination irregularities.
The Registrar to the council, Dr. Iyi Uwadiae, made the statement at a news conference to formally announce preparation for WAEC’s up-coming International Summit on Examination Malpractice in Lagos.
Dr. Uwadiae said that research studies had shown that one of the ways in curbing the ugly trend of examination malpractice was massive enlightenment campaigns. He said that this would draw the attention of education stakeholders and the general public on the negative effects of the scourge to national development.
“As we are all aware, the most notorious challenge facing examination bodies and other educational institutions in WAEC member countries is examination malpractice,” he said.
“Currently, the malaise has assumed dangerous and criminal dimensions on the heels of some advancement in technology which created the smartphones, the social media and others.
“The council in the five member countries has introduced several measures, adopted several strategies and deployed technologies at great costs in the fight against the ever-festering menace.”
Dr. Uwadiae said that misguided candidates and their adult collaborators sometimes included school authorities, teachers, parents and most recently, operators of rogue websites.
He said that these had 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 shotup to 214,952.
“It is as a result of this therefore that the governing board of WAEC has decided to approve the organisation of an international summit on examination malpractice.
”In addition, the Registrars/CEOs of WAEC, JAMB, NECO and NABTEB as well as the Chief Government Nominees on Council and Representatives of School Principals’ Associations in the five member countries will present papers at the Summit.
“The two-day Summit is scheduled to hold at the Academy Inn and Multipurpose Halls, Plot 6, Lateef Jakande Road, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos on October 19 and 20, 2017 at 10 a.m. each day. The summit which has the theme: “Contemporary Realities and Antidotes’’ the registrar said.
Dr. Uwadiae added that some of the speakers expected at the summit are Professor Jonathan A. Fletcher, from Ghana, he would be speaking on “Examination Malpractice: A Threat to National Development”; similarly, Professor Jonas A. S. Redwood Sawyerr from Sierra Leone would have the floor to dwell on “Technology and Examination Malpractice”. Also, Barrister S. P. Binga (ICPC, Nigeria) would be given opportunity to speak on “Statutory Provisions Against Examination Malpractice” whilst Professor Pierre Gomez from the Gambia would address the audience on “International Collaborations in Curbing Examination Malpractice”.