The Council has reviewed the contents of the Eduwatch 2021 WASSCE Ghana Monitoring Report launched on Thursday, 4th November, 2021. It has observed that most of the issues raised in the Report were matters that had engaged the attention of the Council during the conduct of the examination and had consequently been addressed during the Council’s 1st and 2nd Updates on the examination.
The Council however wishes to state as follows:
- STRUCTURE OF THE WASSCE (SC) 2021
The WASSCE (SC) 2021 was conducted from 16th August, 2021 to 8th October, 2021. Sixty (60) subjects were made available to the 446, 321 candidates who had registered for the examination from 765 schools. The subjects are assessed in different test formats (Objective, Essay, Oral, Practical and Aural) to measure candidates’ capabilities and mastery of subject matter content.
Forty two (42) of the Papers were composite papers. This means that the question paper booklets contained both Essay (Paper 2) and Objective (Paper 1) questions. After candidates are admitted to the examination hall, they write Paper 2 and thereafter continue with Paper 1. There is no break in between and candidates do not move out of the examination hall. The candidates have access to both papers as soon as the question paper booklets are issued to them. There are however clear instructions to both Supervisors and candidates on the administration of such tests.
- SCHOOLS MONITORED
The Council would want to call attention to some inaccuracies contained in the Eduwatch Report to set the records straight. According to the Report,
“a sample frame of one hundred (100) schools from which Eduwatch received information on alleged examination malpractices during the 2020 WASSCE was drawn, out of which fifty (50) schools which were examination centres were purposively selected based on our ability to undertake a successful entry and monitoring”.
A list of 50 schools that were monitored was provided at page 30 of the Report
- It must be pointed out that Insaniyaa SHS (No. 12), one of the schools that was reported to have been monitored by Eduwatch does not currently exist. The school was closed down in January 2021. No candidate was registered by Insaniyaa SHS, for the WASSCE (SC) 2021, neither was the school used as an examination centre.
- Beposoman Muslims SHS (No. 1)is not on the Council’s list of participating schools for WASSCE (SC) 2021. Rather, the list of schools for the examination includes Ghana Muslim Mission SHS, Beposo (No. 40.)
- Yet still, the Council does not have any record of Kikam SHTS (No. 14) on its list of schools for WASSCE.
We wish to further state that the Council has taken serious notice of the allegations made in the Report of malpractices in certain schools and will probe the issue further to ascertain the veracity or otherwise of the claims made.
- PAPERS PURPORTED TO HAVE LEAKED
The Eduwatch Report claimed that a total of 11 papers leaked during the examination. First of all, the term “leaked” or “leakage” as applied to examinations conducted by the Council is a question of law and facts. Now to some specifics:
- Foods and Nutrition Paper 3
The Council has addressed the issue of Foods and Nutrition Paper 3 on several occasions and we find it baffling that Mr. Kofi Asare continues to refer to this paper as having leaked when he was the very person that forwarded the fake paper to us. One wonders why Mr. Kofi Asare would send false information when he had the actual.
- English Language 2 and Mathematics (Elective) 2
In the case of these two papers, the Office had indicated in its Second Update held on 23rd August, 2021 that after scrutiny of the several versions received, it detected that extracts of the questions were included in the versions that had been received earlier by our monitoring team from various social media platforms and Telegram channels. We also indicated that WAEC was going to deploy various internationally accepted assessment procedures and interventions to ensure credibility of the results for those papers. The Council’s security tracked and arrested Jerusalema (Godfred Darko), the source of the handwritten questions for Mathematics (Elective) 2 and handed him over to the police. Investigations are ongoing.
- Physics 2 & 1
On 15th September, 2021, the Council as we are all aware, rescheduled Physics 2 & 1 because its underground intelligence picked up signals that the paper was compromised. The rescheduled paper was conducted successfully on 1st October, 2021.
- Biology 3 (Practical-Alternative A)
Practical Instructions for Biology 3 were issued to schools on 3rd September, 2021, two clear weeks ahead of the examination to enable the schools make adequate preparation for the paper. The Instructions were in the schools as at the time of the alleged leakage on 12th and 16th September, 2021.
- Mathematics (Core)2 & 1, Economics 2 and Integrated Science 2
For all the above papers, a number of questions were posted on WhatsApp groups, rouge websites and Telegram channels. Our checks indicated that they were fake. Marking of scripts is however ongoing and any irregularities detected will be investigated and the scripts scrutinized.
- Chemistry 1
This is a composite paper. This means that Chemistry 2 & 1 were both in the same question paper booklet. On 28th September, 2021 at 12:15 pm, our depots started issuing Chemistry 2 & 1 to the supervisors. As at 12:55 p.m. when Eduwatch alleges that Chemistry 1 leaked, the composite paper which contained both Chemistry 2 (Essay) and Chemistry 1 (Objective) had been distributed to candidates to enable them start work on Chemistry 2 which was scheduled for 1:00 pm. The time given in the Report implies that candidates had already been admitted to the examination hall and had possession of the question paper. Any snapshot and circulation of the objective section (Chemistry 1) would have taken place at the centre and thus constitute an inside-examination-hall malpractice and not a leakage.
- Integrated Science 1
The explanation given above, can be made for Integrated Science 1 which Eduwatch claimed leaked at 8:59 a.m. This is because when candidates started work at 8:30 a.m. they had both components of the paper (Essay and objective). Any circulation of the snapshots of the paper (Integrated Science 1) cannot be described as leakage, rather an examination malpractice.
- ROLE OF EXTERNAL SUPERVISORS
External supervisors are examination officials who are appointed to certain examination centres to take charge of the examination. They are not WAEC staff, neither are they staff of the schools in question. During the examination, Inspectors (WAEC staff and GES staff) visit the centres to monitor the examination. The inspectors are unable to visit all centres during the examination because of the limited number of these inspectors due to the inadequate staff strength of the Council. Various sections of the Report made reference to external supervisors and it is not too clear which category of persons Eduwatch was referring to during the launch of their Report.
- REGULATORY AGENCY FOR THE ASSESSMENT SECTOR
WAEC is an international Body regulated by Council which is composed of 34 distinguished personalities from all the five member countries of WAEC. Article 6.2 of the Convention states “Every matter that comes before Council for determination shall be decided by a majority of the votes of members present, except that Council shall wherever possible determine matters before it by consensus”. At the national level, the Council has a number of Committees with its members drawn from both the public and private sectors. Before a decision is taken regarding the conduct of any examination, it is discussed and agreed at the Committee level with final approval from the governing board. The Council then follows due process in executing the committee’s recommendations. It is therefore inaccurate for Eduwatch to state that “WAEC as an international organisation, lacks accountable framework of governance, operates in a virtual monopoly in the public assessment space which has no regulation or effective accountability to citizens”.
- REFRESHMENT ALLOWANCE PAID TO SUPERVISORS AND INVIGILATORS
The budget presently operated by the Council only provides refreshment allowance per session for Supervisors and Invigilators. Any additional allowance introduced would have to be factored into the budget leading to an increase in the fees paid by candidates.
- WAY FORWARD
Looking forward, the Council has considered for implementation, various interventions, aimed at reducing human involvement in the question paper production value chain. This would include retooling the Council, serialization, use of parallel tests and making use of variable data printing among others.
In conclusion, we wish to reiterate that WAEC is committed to the conduct of credible examinations in the public interest, despite the numerous challenges that we are confronted with in the conduct of examinations. Our doors remain open and we welcome suggestions aimed at enabling us attain our Vision “To be a world-class examining body adding value to the educational goals of its stakeholders”. Sections of the Eduwatch Report such as the one that speaks about “delayed commencement of some papers” will be given the needed attention.
We wish to assure all our publics that we will continue to adopt innovative measures to improve our processes especially in the fight against examination malpractice, including examination leakage.
The Council is most grateful to the Ministry of Education, Parliamentary Select Committee on Education and the Joint Intelligence Committee of the Ministry of National Security, for the discussions and engagements aimed at finding lasting solutions to the canker of examination malfeasance. We also appreciate the Inspector-General of Police and his team at the Cyber Unit of the CID for their role in investigations that are ongoing in line with the various arrests made. We are also thankful to our stakeholders and members of the public for the support given us to enable us execute our mandate.