Education Think Tank, Africa Education Watch, wants the government of Ghana to take steps to break the monopoly enjoyed by the West African Examination Council, WAEC, in assessing students and conducting examinations in Ghana by regulating the powers of the council.
This call is part of twelve recommendations proffered by the education think tank after conducting thorough research and investigation into the 2020 WASSCE.
According to the Executive Director of African Education Watch, Kofi Asare, the research was triggered by the “gravity of malpractices witnessed in the 2020 West African Secondary Schools Examination and the unprecedented leakage of names and contacts of examiners and questions for all but two subjects.”
Presenting a report on the research conducted, Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, said independent international examining bodies should be involved in the examination and assessment space as a good way to promote healthy competition in the examination space.
“The Education Ministry must set up a regulator of assessment to regulate WAEC and other assessment bodies before their activities become ungovernable. We need to break the WAEC monopoly. WAEC operates in other countries, but they do not have a monopoly in Nigeria, for instance.”
“There are about six or five internationally reputable assessment bodies in Ghana who have been conducting examination every year and no one hears of any leakages, we need to give them an opportunity to participate in the exam sector, bring in various assessments that they use in assessing so that WAEC will compete and when competition comes in, we believe that WAEC will adopt technologies that will reduce the human involvement or human element which is one of the key reasons why there is leakage.”
“We think that our assessment system needs to be restructured and made credible and accountable, or it will get to a point where our certificates would lose relevance. If we do not prosecute people who engage in such criminal conducts, we will never be sending any signal to the practitioners within the ‘apor’ value chain,” he added.
Yaw Adutwum questions WAEC’s monopoly following recent leaks
In August 2020, the then Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Yaw Adutwum, who’s now the substantive Minister, questioned the prudence of the West African Examination Council’s (WAEC) monopoly in the wake of the leaks that marred the WASSCE examinations.
“We don’t have to create monopolies if it will lead to inefficiency,” Dr. Adutwum said on Eyewitness News.
He said he expects the Council to be making more of an effort to plug leaks that have been consistent over the past two decades.
“Why are they not using 21st-century means of stopping leaks and cheating forever? I think they are going to have to sit up,” the Deputy Minister stated.
He noted, as an example, that in California in the USA, some schools set multiple test questions in different variations for a single exam as a means to combat cheating and examination leaks.
“If you are a student, and you are waiting for the questions to be leaked, if even they are leaked, you do not know the version you are going to get,” Dr. Adutwum noted.
‘Measure your words’ – Adutwum goes hard on Naana Jane over ‘WASSCE fixing’ claim
But Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, now the Education Minister, did not take lightly comments by a former Minister of Education, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, which ostensibly put into question, the performance of Free Senior High School (SHS) graduates in the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Dr. Adutwum said it is unfortunate for Prof. Opoku-Agyemang to make suggestions that demoralize the students and by extension denigrate the exams body – the West African Examination Council (WAEC), which conducted the exams across the sub-region.
Prof. Opoku-Agyemang, who also was running -mate for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2020 elections, has discredited the 2020 WASSCE results, suggesting that there was mass exam cheating by the students.