The Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch) 2021 West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) Ghana Monitoring Report says out of 20 papers monitored, 11 (55 percent) leaked “successfully,” whilst nine (45 percent) were recorded as fake circulations.
The report mentioned the leaked papers as: Foods and Nutrition Three (Practical), Elective Mathematics Two, English Language Two, Physics Two (which was consequently rescheduled), Biology Three (Practical-Alternative A), Core Mathematics One, Core Mathematics Two, Economics Two, Chemistry 1, Integrated Science One and Integrated Science Two.
It said the papers leaked before or after midnight, at the dawn of the scheduled day for the examination, or a few hours before the papers were due to be taken.
Reverend Dr Fredrick Deegbe, a Former General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, formally launched the report, dubbed: “Eduwatch 2021 WASSCE Ghana Motoring Report,” in Accra.
Mr Kofi Asare, the Executive Director, Africa Education Watch, who presented the findings of the report, said the report covered the monitoring of 20 papers in 50 purposively sampled examination centres during WASSCE 2021, adding that the supposed questions from the papers were leaked unto various rogue social media pages on telegram.
He said the online leakage manifested at the school level, as some students in all schools monitored had foreknowledge of the 11 papers, which were sold on social media platforms hours ahead of the examination.
He said in addition, English Language and Social Studies written questions from the National Board for Professional and Technician Examinations (NABTEX) examination conducted by the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET) for Technical Institutes at the pre-tertiary level also leaked on the telegram platforms.
The report said the high-stakes nature of the pre-tertiary external assessment system, where one could be deemed “a failure” based on a 90-minute test after 14 years of schooling as a key driver of the demand for questions and examination malpractices, as candidates must pass at all cost.
It said also, the high cost of remedial schooling, which was only available in the private sector for only parents who could afford it, was partly accountable for the commitment of candidates, mostly backed by the parents to purchase phones and questions, pay for compromised invigilation, and pass at the first attempt.
It again identified the increased competition for pride among schools through the WASSCE Ranking (League Table) and Key Performance Indicators for school heads as a potential motivation for institutionalised cheating during WASSCE, while acknowledging the universalised use of mobile phones in schools and access to social media by students, especially telegram and WhatsApp as conduits for accessing the questions.
The report said in addition to the demand factors, and its facilitators, the major supply drivers remained the existence of consistent security gaps in the West African Examination Council (WAEC) questions supply chain, which had culminated in a multi-million-cedi subsidiary industry – the “apo” market, courtesy telegram platform that could host over 200,000 subscribers for marketing.
The report said examination fraud, if unaddressed, would lead to the devaluation of WAEC’s certificates in the local and international tertiary space and the world of work, and made recommendations towards the digitisation of the question transmission process by removing the human elements involved in the section, printing, sorting, packaging, transportation, and storage of questions at deports, ahead of examinations.
It also recommended the mounting of CCTV surveillance systems in and around examination centres and reviewing the over emphasis on summative assessment or test based final examination by increasing the threshold for internal assessment from the current 30 percent.
Mr Charlse Aheto-Tsegah, a former Director-General, Ghana Education Service, said to address the issue of examinations malpractices, there was the need to change the penalty for examination malpractices from misdemeanour to crime to make the punishment more punitive.