By Okee Sydney-Obiukwu, in Lagos
Worried by the recurring incidences of malpractice, in spite of the water-tight measures put in place each year to uphold high integrity in the conduct of its examinations, the West African Examination Council (WAEC) plans to hold a 2-day international summit from October 19-20, 2017, to proffer lasting solutions to the menace.
The summit scheduled to hold in the five member countries of WAEC – Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, will be themed, “Examination Malpractice: The contemporary Realities and Antidotes.”
In his address at a press conference held this Tuesday at WAEC’s international office in Agidingbi, Lagos, the Registrar of the council, Dr. Iyi Uwadiae said the most pressing challenge facing examining bodies and other education institutions in WAEC member countries is examination malpractice.
He said the malaise has assumed dangerous and criminal dimensions on the heels of some advancement in technology which created the smartphones, the social media, etc.
In response to this challenge, he stated that the council, in the five member countries, has introduced several measures, and has also adopted various strategies, as well as deployed technologies at great costs in the fight against the ever-festering menace.
He said it was regrettable that 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, he explained.
Uwadiae said that the summit became necessary, since research studies have shown that one of the ways of curbing the worrisome trends in examination irregularities is the mounting of public enlightenment campaigns to draw attention of the stakeholders in education and the general public to the negative effects of examination malpractice on national development.
He said it was for this reason that the governing board of WAEC approved the holding of an international summit on examination malpractice, to deal with the festering problem in the sub-region.
Emeritus Professor Pius Augustine Ike Obanya, is billed to deliver the keynote address. Other Speakers include Professor Jonathan A. Fletcher from Ghana, who will speak on “Examination Malpractice: A Threat to National Development,” and Professor Jonas A. S. Redwood Sawyerr from Sierra Leone, to speak on“Technology and Examination Malpractice”.
Barrister S. P. Binga, will represent ICPC, Nigeria, and will be dwelling on “Statutory Provisions Against Examination Malpractice,” while Professor Pierre Gomez from Gambia will be treating the topic: International Collaborations in Curbing Examination Malpractice.
In addition, Uwadiae further stated, the Registrars/CEOs of WAEC, JAMB, NECO and NABTEB as well as the chief government nominees on WAEC’s council and representatives of school principals’ associations in the five member countries will present papers at the Summit.
He implored members of the press to endeavor to put issues that will be discussed at the summit, holding in Lagos; in the front burners, considering its critical nature and importance in the development of education in the West African sub-region.