Editorial : Examination malpractices: A threat to society
In recent years, a common feature that has greeted the conduct of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) is the phenomenon of malpractices.
The practice includes students basically having access to the set of questions they are to answer before they enter the exams hall, and sometimes carrying of foreign materials on them.
Other malpractices include students communicating with one another in the examination hall, free access to copy from friends, and the ability to intermittently walk out of the hall to consult teachers or books for ideas.
Leaking of the exams papers from source or other appropriate quarters, as well as relaxed restrictions on supervision by the authorities in charge during the examinations, have been identified as some of the malpractices.
The canker has assumed alarming proportions in recent times, and hardly is any of the aforementioned examinations conducted without one hearing of malpractices.
It is worrying to note that the concept of students getting access to supposedly leaked questions has become part of students’ preparations towards their final examinations.
The Chronicle has learned that in some cases, some students or parents pay money in readiness for ‘leaked’ exams questions, so as to enable them pass with distinctions.
It has also come to the attention of the paper that some parents, school proprietors, headmasters and teachers are complicit in these examination malpractices.
It is bizarre to mention that some proprietors, headmasters and teachers often pay huge sums of money to influence supervisors and invigilators during the exams.
Information available to the paper indicates that the rationale behind the influence is to ensure that their students would do whatever it takes to get them pass their exams at all costs.
This, we understand, is to project the schools as being the best in ranking; a bragging right that would be expected to give them some mileage.
The entire country was shocked when recently some WASSCE candidates attacked their authorities and invigilators, simply because they were not allowed to cheat during the exams.
Others notoriously vented their spleen on the government simply because the questions were tough and not as easy as they would have thought. Surprisingly, they were bold to articulate these concerns publicly.
Perhaps they were emboldened, because they thought they were going to be allowed to rely on ‘apo’ or freely engage in all sorts of malpractices during the exams.
However, this practice, which now seems to have come to stay, is so dangerous and with a sharp tendency that could easily breakdown the moral fibre of our society.
This is because both BECE and WASSCE are the pivotal stages where we prepare the minds of our youth who are the future leaders. In fact, they graduate from one level to the other.
It is, therefore, important to categorically mention that infiltrating their minds with malpractices, and assisting them to cut corners at those stages, are the worst form of harm we could do to them.
The Chronicle is of the firm belief that assisting our students to engage in examination malpractices at the BECE and WASSCE levels would be detrimental to their moral development.
Additionally, it also affects the credibility of individuals and the certificates we produce from our high schools to the universities with dire consequences.
If the canker is not stopped, the reputations of certificates produced from the country would suffer international credibility.
We are, therefore, appealing to all stakeholders to, as a matter of urgency, see the canker as a serious threat that could erode all efforts, and stride to build a better future for the youth.
It is our call that stiffer punishments should be meted out to any person or group of persons who would be caught trying to engage in any form of examination malpractice.
This year’s BECE began yesterday across the country. The Chronicle would join well-meaning Ghanaians to wish the students well.