The government has released GH¢50.5 million to the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to conduct the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
Out of the figure, GH¢40 million is towards the successful conduct of WASSCE, representing about 30 percent of the amount needed for the conduct of the exams.
The Head of National Office (HNO) of WAEC, Wendy Addy-Lamptey, who disclosed this in an interview with Graphic Online’s Severious Kale-Dery, also said GH¢10.5 million was for the conduct of a successful BECE, constituting almost 15 percent of what was required for the successful conduct of that examination.
Mrs. Addy-Lamptey said WAEC had increased the number of depots it used for its exam papers to reduce the distance from the depots to the schools which served as examination centers.
Additionally, she said this year, the question papers would not be released earlier than 45 minutes before the commencement of the examinations.
She said to ensure that the depots for the question papers were in good shape and secured, WAEC had inspected all of them throughout the country and those that needed extra work.
“This time around, we do not accept depots with ceilings. All depots must have either concrete or if they don’t have concrete, then we will do a metal grate on the ceiling to fortify them so that nobody can enter through the ceiling.
“Again, we are not going to move our question papers in bulk to the depots; they would be moved in bits so that at any time, the question papers that are needed for a particular week or few days would be the only papers that are at the depots,” Mrs. Addy-Lamptey explained.
She explained further that those were among a number of steps taken by WAEC to improve test security and to ensure malpractice-free examinations as it administered three different examinations this month.
WASSCE took off with Visual Arts practicals last Monday, while BECE for both school and private candidates will take off from Monday, August 7 to 11, this year.
From August 21, the General Business Certificate Examination and Advanced Business Certificate Examination will also start.
“So, within the WASSCE period, we will actually have three examinations being conducted,” the HNO explained.
Mrs. Addy-Lamptey gave an assurance that for all examination officials, a briefing would be done throughout the country.
“They will be taken through what they should do and what they shouldn’t do, as well as what candidates are expected to do.”
She said prior to all these steps, WAEC had carried out some sensitization programs in a number of schools throughout the country to tell the students what they should do and what they should not do, and how they should prepare for the examination.
Mrs. Addy-Lamptey stressed that credible examination was a collective responsibility, “and so, we need all our other stakeholders, our headteachers, the GES officials, GES depot keepers, our security agencies to ensure that we have credible examinations,” she said.
She said this year, WAEC would engage monitoring agents whom it had trained to beef up its own staff to effectively cover all the centers.
“Additionally, we have intensified the briefing of our examinations officials, and again, those schools that previously engaged in institutional cheating have been engaged and cautioned,” she added.
She added that those institutions had been spoken to, and where applicable, sanctions had been applied to serve as a deterrent to other institutions that might be nursing the idea to engage in syndicate cheating.
“So, we hope it would serve as a caution to the other schools who want to get into institutional cheating or syndicate cheating,” she said.
On rogue websites, Mrs. Addy-Lamptey cautioned candidates and the public to stay away from websites and WhatsApp platforms created to entice candidates to either download WAEC-confirmed topics or join those platforms.
“All such websites are rogue websites because WAEC has not confirmed any topics in any subject to anyone,” she stressed and said when any website required a candidate to download and in the process, he or she was asked to input a telephone number, “that is a clear case of a rogue website.”
She said candidates, teachers, and parents had already been cautioned to avoid or not to input their telephone numbers on such websites, “because it is in your own interest not to join such groups.”