Examination malpractices have become albatross on the neck of all the stakeholders in the education sector from the ministry through to parents. From the Ministry of Education (MOE) through Ghana Education Service (GES) to the body that take oversight responsibility of administering examination, West African Examination Council (WAEC).
The menace has been there since time immemorial, and it keeps increasing year by year. Perpetrators are devising sophisticated means to cheat in examination.
For the purpose of this article, examination malpractices are any means by which people want to an undue advantage over others. The methods are not only sending unauthorized or ‘foreign’ materials to the exams hall but also having access to the test items prior to appointed time. It has even been reported that, some candidates have access to the test items two or more days before the exam date.
WAEC has over the years has denied that their officials are involved in the act, but one would wonder where these candidate have access to examination test items before the date of examination, if not from the source.
In 2019 West African Examination Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE), because of the widespread of examination malpractices during the exams, public called for the cancellation of the entire exams, but WAEC after their own investigations concluded that, the teachers and invigilators rather colluded.
In their investigation, they also claimed that teachers (invigilators) take a shot of the question papers right after the paper has started and send them to a group of people ready to solve them through WhatsApp and other social media platforms.
And after they have finished solving, they send the answers back to be dictated to the students and copied for them.
Prior to 2018, there were unscrupulous people who set up Facebook page accounts advertising their ordeal and offerings to give candidates examination test items before the start of the papers.
Some students did confirm that what they bought from such sources did come as advertised.
Some have even gone ahead with a Bluetooth hands free plastered on their ears with the excuse that they have ear problem, so that their fellows or “contractors” can read the answers to them whilst the exam is ongoing.
It is against WAEC rules and regulations governing examination writing to send mobile device or other sophisticated electronic devices which are able yo transmit data to exams hall not even programmable calculator is allowed.
It is by these reasons WAEC have some candidates entire results or some papers cancelled for various exam offenses. Others too have theirs withheld for further investigation after which either the papers are cancelled or released.
As a teacher, I have observed certain things which when checked can help minimize the ‘love’ people have for cheating in examination.
The main aim of the education is to make sure that every individual irrespective of tribe, race, religion, gender have equal opportunity to be educated and become useful in society.
Most of the students I have come across are simply lazy and there seems to be little effort from their end. Prior to the ban of mobile phones usage on campus, these students were glued to their phones listening to music or watching movies and in some cases watching adult materials whilst teaching is ongoing.
How can you pass your final examination if you spend almost all schooling days on unnecessary stuffs? Looking at how bulky High School syllabuses are, I wonder how these students would ignore such responsibility and take things for granted to that extent.
Some students seems not to have any interests in the courses being offered at the senior high school and therefore become truant dodging classes intermittently or entirely. Can the ministry offer courses base on people’s potentials and interest?
The problem can also partly be blamed on the Ghana Education Service. Why the case? There have been threats from these authorities on headmasters to have their posts withdrawn due to the fact that their candidates who have sat for examinations have consistently failed.
So in an attempt to keep their posts as headmasters, some have resorted to these tactics to make sure their students pass. They may not directly get involved, but in their silence when these actions are ongoing, leaves no doubt in peoples mind that they are in support.
In some situations, some teachers will corroborate with students after the students have paid certain amounts of money. Have seen some teachers been praised after their students have “excelled” in their respective subjects.
On a more serious note, in my opinion is the attachment to examination as the only way one can make it in life. I don’t mean to say examination is not necessary but how the examination are administered and even the skills the exams seek to test, do not guarantee to actually test the mastery of the candidates.
What I have observed is that these exams only test the candidate’s ability to reproduce what’s in the memory. It does necessarily test candidates ability to judge, critically think, show mastery of the concept. Some students have even questioned me on the relevance of some topics they are being taught in their life.
Those who design the the curriculum have to, as a matter of urgency, look at ways to have some practicality of the topics included.
They should also design the assessment in such a way that every potential of the person is assessed, and those who have some specialty are also taken care of. It will make more sense to test people who have singing, dancing or playing skills on that line than to let them feel inadequate using a different test instrument.
The teacher as the basic implementer of whatever government policy, plays a major and vital role as they have first hand interaction with the students, have to adopt best practices when teaching.
“Each of us is a unique strand in the intricate web of life and here to make a contribution.”
Curriculum designers have to also delve into the duration for the subjects. Most teachers complained that if not extra classes, they would not have completed their syllabus. This put a lot of undue pressure on both teachers and students leading to less or no time for revision.
In my view, the four year duration that was proposed couple of years ago was commendable.
It was revealed in certain analysis that putting all factors together, the four year duration of high school in Ghana produced better results as compared to the three year. [Link the analysis]
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