The WASSCE for School Candidates, 2021, is being administered to four hundred and forty-six thousand, three hundred and twenty-one candidates (446,321) from 965 schools i.e 651 public schools and 314 private schools in Ghana. The total number of candidates comprises 221,437 males and 234,884 females which is an increase of 18.78% over the 2020 figure of 375,767. Seven hundred and sixty-three centres (763) are being used for the examination which commenced on Monday 16th August 2021 with the administration of the Visual Art Project Work. The examination will end on Friday, 8th October 2021.
The Council, however, wishes to bring the following issues to the attention of the media, our stakeholders, and the general public:
1. “Eduwatch WASSCE 2021 Monitoring” Report issued on Friday, 20th August 2021
African Education Watch (Eduwatch) on Friday, 20th August 2021 disseminated a report on social media as follows:
“ Today’s Food and Nutrition Paper 3 which was scheduled for 1:30 pm was leaked on social media at 6:00 a.m. yesterday and 11:06 a.m. today. We reported to WAEC at 11:10 a.m., and can now confirm it is indeed a genuine leak. The practical paper has just started at the centres. Eduwatch is monitoring WASSCE with the support of OXFAM, and will continue collaborating with WAEC to improve accountability in the Education Assessment Sector.”
We wish to state emphatically that the information put out by Eduwatch about the alleged leakage of Foods and Nutrition Paper 3 is untrue, misleading and creating anxiety among the candidates and our publics.
Prior to the circulation of this information, one of our Heads of Division received a call and WhatsApp images of the “Instructions to the Foods and Nutrition Teacher” and alleged leaked Question paper from Mr. Kofi Asare, CEO of African Education Watch. It must be noted that the “Instructions to the Foods and Nutrition Teacher” was distributed to Heads of School on 16th August 2021 to enable teachers to prepare for the conduct of the actual paper which was taken on Friday, 20th August. The paper clearly contains only guidelines as you can all see and was in the public domain, hence could not be referred to as leaked on 19th August 2021.
While the actual paper requested candidates to prepare, cook and serve a three-course meal for an ulcer patient, the purported leaked question paper received from Eduwatch requested for a two-course meal for a lactating mother. Furthermore, the screenshot question paper forwarded to us by Eduwatch was full of spelling and grammatical errors and that could certainly not have emanated from WAEC.
The Council is at a loss as to the real intentions behind Eduwatch’s actions. Much as we appreciate the need for all stakeholders to be interested in preserving the integrity of our national examinations, we must ensure that we do the necessary due diligence before issuing any reports, which tend to mislead the public, cause unnecessary anxiety and undermine the credibility of the examination. If care is not taken, the reputations of institutions and the nation as a whole could be irreparably damaged in the eyes of the international community.
This is not the first time we have had such misleading circulation from Eduwatch. While we welcome feedback that we believe helps us to take corrective actions to improve, reckless circulations like this create needless pressure on WAEC, candidates, parents, and our various stakeholders. Local and international bodies that use our results for the admission of Ghanaians into tertiary institutions may doubt the credibility of our certificates, making the Ghanaian child the ultimate loser.
We are indeed very happy with the matured approach some media houses have taken to first check with us when they receive contentious information, and also entreat all stakeholders to be circumspect in their reportage of issues regarding the examination. Let us not create unnecessary tension, fear, and panic.
We would like to inform Eduwatch and all our stakeholders that our doors are open and would be very happy to engage them to ensure that the hard-earned reputation of WAEC is maintained. We would be taking up this issue further.
2. Operation of rogue websites/WhatsApp groups
The activities of rogue websites and WhatsApp groups created purposely for cheating have started again. “Smart WASSCE Hub” is one of the many WhatsApp groups which are asking candidates to join for assistance during the examination. We wish to caution all candidates to be wary of the activities of websites such as this which deceive them and turn their attention from their books. We advise all candidates who have joined such platforms to exit them immediately and concentrate on their studies. The security operatives are on the alert and have assured us that they are working to bring these perpetrators to book.
3. Plans by schools to cheat
The Council has received tip-offs from a number of concerned citizens, some of the teachers of some schools, of plans being hatched and monies being collected to enable candidates to cheat during the examination with the connivance of teachers in these schools. The Council has cautioned the schools in question and would follow up with the necessary actions.
Meanwhile, all arrangements for the smooth conduct of the examination have been followed through.
We wish to use this opportunity to once again appeal to our Supervisors and Invigilators to be guided by the rules of the examination. We urge them to be vigilant, refrain from taking their mobile phones to the examination hall, and carry out their duties as expected.
Curbing examination malpractice is a collective responsibility, as such members of the public should exercise restraint and ensure that they do the necessary due diligence before issuing any report.
In conclusion, let me advise all candidates to comply with the rules and regulations of the examination and the COVID 19 protocols, avoid any form of malpractice which could lead to the cancellation of their results and being barred from taking examinations conducted by WAEC. The Council wishes all candidates success in their papers. You can certainly pass your examinations without cheating.
Thank you very much for your time and attention.