Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Minister of Education, Thursday reiterated the West African Examination Council’s commitment to conducting credible examination and dealing with all forms of examination irregularities that threaten the entire education system.
He said this on the Floor of Parliament in his response to a question by Madam Sheila Bartels, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma North, as to what measures the Ministry was putting in place to curb the widespread reports of leaked examination papers.
Dr Adutwum noted that WAEC had adopted strategies such as biometric access control device at the Security Printing Division to ensure that only authorised staff entered the premises in addition to strict bodily searching of persons entering and exiting.
Others are closed circuit television (CCTV) monitoring of all activities relating to the production of question papers, the use of tamper proof envelopes to seal question papers, packing of sealed questions (papers) in plastic self-sealing envelopes and bagging packets in security bags.
The rest are the use of security seals on the bags to ensure that no one has access to the packets while in transit, and the use of a combination of locks for the security bags to prevent unnoticed access to the packets before the code was released to depot keepers.
Also is the fortification of depots where question papers are kept.
Dr Adutwum said the Council engaged the Education Ministry, the Ghana Education Service, and other agencies to undertake sensitisation of candidates and the public on examination malpractices, its effect on candidates and the society as well as the punitive actions on candidates and the schools engaged in it.
He said it was pursuing the introduction of alternate/parallel papers in assessing candidates; saying “the first step was randomising the options of the objective test for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) 2021”
It was observed that the action reduced the circulation of answers online, he said.
“Once students and school administrators realise that whatever they have received as solutions/responses to questions are not useful, their attention shift to properly preparing candidates for the examination,” he said.
The goal of the Council was to have candidates in the same examination room take different questions of the same difficulty level to prevent collusion through the serialisation of test, he said.
It solicited the support of the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) and the National Security for deployment of persons to augment security at the press during the printing of the 2021 BECE question papers.
That was in addition to the presence of personnel from the Ghana Police Service and WAEC Security, Dr Adutwum said, adding that the Council would once again solicit the support of the NIB in its operations for 2022.
The Minister said the Council took decisive action against any of its staff whose action or inaction might have led to a security breach and all suspected breaches were reported to the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service to allow for independent investigations.
Teachers, supervisors, and invigilators who had been caught for indulging in examination irregularities were reported to the GES for the necessary actions and some of those persons had been interdicted pending termination of their appointment by the GES Council