Exams leakage: Divorce GES staff from examination supervision- VIAM boss tells WAEC

Dr Prince ArmahThe Executive Director of VIAM Africa is calling on the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) to appoint its own staff across the country to supervise its examination.

Dr Prince Armah says the practice of relying on staff of GES to supervise examination smacks of conflict of interest on the part of the GES and may also be partly responsible for wave of examination leakage across the country.

He explained that staff of GES have direct interest in ensuring that the pupils pass the exams and may sometimes employ unorthodox methods to make them pass.

“If you take a headmaster who has been sacked or transferred for producing students who did not do well in and exams and you have this headmaster supervising examination at a centre, you can imagine what will happen?”

He said the right thing is “to ensure that the organisation of the exams is independent of GES and that will make GES have the moral turpitude to question WAEC in the case of leakage and hold them accountable.”

“As things stand now the exams are being conducted by WAEC and GES and that is why in most cases when the issues of leakage comes you will see the GES coming to defend WAEC.

“WAEC should employ its own staff. Every year before exams, adverts should be made to get invigilators to apply and WAEC will appoint and train them,” he stated.

His comment to Myjoyonline.com, comes a day to the beginning of the 2016 Basic Education Certificate Examination to be organised across the country.

Last year’s examination was hit by the biggest scandal with as many as five papers being cancelled as a result of a massive leakage.

Over 6,000 students had their papers withheld in a scandal that lingered on for weeks in 2015.

A committee was constituted to investigate the circumstances under which  the papers were leaked.

The committee concluded its work and made recommendations to WAEC, part of which is to fly the papers to the various examination centres and to allow officials of the Bureau of National Investigations to secure the papers and not the police.

WAEC maintains the interventions introduced have so far proven to be effective and will prevent leakage in tomorrow’s exams and those to be conducted in the future.

While commending WAEC for taking some initiative to solve a national problem, Dr Prince Armah told Myjoyonline.com some of the measures taken may not be sustainable.

He said the decision to print the papers outside the country and to have BNI officials police the examination could prove to be unsustainable.

He said it will be in the economic interest of the country to print the papers internally under secured environment.

He wondered whether the BNI has enough personnel to police all the examination centres across the country.

Dr Prince Armah also called for the establishment of depots closer to all examination centres for the distribution of the examination papers.

“I have argued that the distance from the examination centres and the depot is very far and so when they take the papers and they are doing the distribution, one centre gets it and it takes another 45 minutes or one hour to finish the distribution.

“In that process when one centre gets it they open and with the use of whatsapp and social media the papers are distributed.

“If we have more depots, the proximity might curtail the possibility of examination leakage,” he stated.

Over 400,000 pupils are expected to sit for the 2016 exams which begins on Monday June, 13, 2016.

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