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04 July 2017

Conduct of basic education certificate examination (BECE) in the Ellembelle district uncalled for -Daniel Kaku


Some problems associated with basic education certificate examination (BECE) in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region have been revealed by Mr. Bright Andoh a teacher at Hassaniya Islamic J.H.S.

Mr. Bright Andoh in a document copied to the Ellembelle District Education Directorate and the media stated that there was mass leakage of examination questions in 2016 but West African Examination Council (WAEC) failed to put things in order and continued in 2017 BECE.

“I wish to indicate that proclamations made in this piece are no uncertain terms the truth, though no backed by any hard-core evidence”

“The conduct of examinations for both basic and second cycle institutions in recent times and times past has in no doubt had its turbulent periods, one would have ordinarily expected that haven gathered enough experience throughout the period, WAEC and GES could have, in this contemporary world, devised mechanisms to help curb examination malpractices”.

” This has not been the case. Am not implying that the named institutions have not provided any remedy to the situation though. After the mass leakage of examination questions in 2016, WAEC, in the conduct of the 2017 BECE, proved that it had worked really hard to put things in order, at least from its headquarters or so speak. The situation at some examination centres however told a different story”.

“Let me hasten to add that these are dangerous times when crime is usually hailed and the truth is relative and dependent on the judgment of one’s audience, it is necessary that one exercises care, tact and caution so as to attract negative publicity or worse; welcome an early death. But the truth nonetheless must be told in the face of overwhelming odds”.

” After the rather unfortunate incidence that occurred at the BOKASS SHS examination centre during the 2016 BECE, culminating in several schools performing poorly and the District recording one of its worse ever results, I believed it was a huge deterrent to all persons involved in various forms of examination malpractices, but I wrong! Totally wrong!”

In 2012 when I was first posted into the Ellembelle District, I observed with dismay a culture; a culture where the District Examination Officer would gather and take money from headmasters to be given to invigilators so that teachers from contributing schools would have access to the examination hall. Not only that, the invigilators themselves openly dictated answers to candidates at the exams hall. Candidates, after their daily sitting would recount how ‘helpful’ and ‘generous’ invigilators were, not wasting any opportunity to label one or two others who did not support this course as extremely wicked. Students ignorantly and shamelessly bragged about how they his mobile phones with answers to the questions they were to answer and even calling their teachers on such phones for answers to some questions in the course of writing their papers. In a particular year, candidates narrated with joy how invigilators sent a box round for candidates to dispose any foreign material they carried because they (invigilators) sensed the presence of an external invigilator. Some disgruntled candidates also obliviously expressed their frustrations at how invigilators helped some schools more than others and how they (candidates) suspected some answers dictated openly were were wrong. This, I found to be true as my own candidates ticked wrong responses to relatively cheap questions, explaining that those were answers supplied by invigilators, thus sadly making efforts of teachers who word hard fruitless”.

“Gross misconduct during the the 2016 BECE led to the creation of a new centre at Holy Child Preparatory School, Aiyinasi. I must sy that I was not overly fond of that idea as I struggled to establish how a new centre could prevent any malpractice. This time, instincts were not on point! The conduct of the 2017 BECE at the new centre – Holy Child, was nothing less than a replica of the factors that necessitated the creation of same. I visited the centre on Thursday June 8, 2017, the fourth day of the examination. Prior to my visit, I had been shown a gloomy picture of the tenure of events at the centre. A colleague went as far as taking with his phone, the picture of a man giving what appeared to be strips of papers to candidates in one of the examination rooms through a window close to the road”.

Mr. Bright Andoh asked how do these teachers other people come by the questions, given that these questions don’t leak from the bWAEC headquarters? “Now, the exams questions for each day are distributed each morning to the various centres in turns. A centre that receives before others then takes shots of it by a tablet or phone and send to teachers via the WhatsApp platforms. Before the distributing team gets to a particular centre, teachers and other persons of certain might have already prepared and delivered solutions to the questions to their candidates”.

Suggestions


He added that, “I am saddened by the fact that I do not have any authority to turn things round but I am also optimistic that any tiniest of contributions can make huge impacts in the conduct of examinations throughout the nation. In this light, I put forward the under – listed suggestions with the hope that refinements are made where necessary to enable them fit into the legal framework and thus non-contradictory to the norms of WAEC and the Ghana Education Service;

* That WAEC and GES ensure that persons appointed as examination officers as well as invigilators are made to put their jobs on the line by surrounding the originals of their highest professional and academic certificates to the Education Directorate and kept until a successful completion of their assigned tasks. Such persons should be made aware that they would lose their jobs and have their certificates ceased forever should they implicated an any form of malpractices.

* That invigilators are conducted amongst candidates possibly after a day’s papers to assess the situation on the ground. Eavesdropping on candidates’ conversation alone could do a greater part of the work.

* That the service of the police be used sparingly and should have no physical contact with invigilators or candidates.

* That GES and WAEC should be critical in their choice of persons for any exams related task.

* That colours of the question papers for a particular year be random and differ from immediate previous ones to provide extra security.

* That invigilators and other examination officers are under no circumstance allowed to carry mobile phones, tablets, recordable or programmable devices including calculators to exams halls except the leader of the team who should be allowed to use a phone not capable of taking pictures just in case of any emergency.

* That the check for teacher absenteeism be intensified during the BECE period to keep teachers in their classrooms instead of loitering around examination centres. Again, the presence of teachers and any other unauthorized persons close to exams centres be made illegal by both and GES.

* Persons found to have engaged in any form of malpractice be made to stand quick trail and face unrelenting punishment if found guilty.

Mr. Bright Andoh concluded that BECE results presented by most candidates to Senior High Schools are not true reflection of their performance. Examination malpractice goes on persistently, he added.

Source: Daniel Kaku








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