The National Coordinator of the Civil Rights Coalition ,Alphonso Manley, has commended the Government of Sierra Leone under the leadership of President Julius Maada Bio for putting more premium on education but also called on them to increase and pay the 100% fees to the West African Examination Council (WAEC) before the commencement of external examinations in order to have a proper conduct of those exams and effective monitoring of the National Primary School Exanimation (NPSE), Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECCE) and West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
He stated that the body charged with the responsibility of conducting external examinations within the West African Sub- Region, the West African Examination Council (WAEC) is conducting four Examinations, two National Examinations that is the National Primary School Exanimation and Basic Education Certificate Examination and two external Examinations which are the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination for school and private candidates.
He noted that WAEC also conducts Examinations on behalf of other Examination Boards that offers various courses.
“The institution has been in existence for over 6 decades and is accredited for excellence in conducting credible examinations as well as the issuance of certificates. However in recent times lamentably, examination malpractices have become embedded and are gradually turning into a culture in our educational institutions to an extent that WAEC as examining body is concern about the credibility of certificates issued out,” Manley underscored.
According to him, the menace, if not eradicated would eat into our educational system and seriously cause harm to the moral and intellectual development of young people saying there is therefore a dire need for strict measures to be implemented not only to curb the malaise but to put an end to it.
He described examination malpractice as a deliberate attempt to beat the system by wrong means contrary to the examination rules and regulations, which will put a candidate at an unfair advantage stressing how such is illegal and can be committed by a candidate single handedly or in collaboration with other examination authorities, like invigilators, supervisors, examiners, colleagues candidates or other persons in any of the examination stages.
The National Coordinator posited that exam malpractice can occur through leakage of examination question papers, bribe/influencing examination staffs and falsification of verified entries.
He also said it can be done through choice of invigilators, examination centers, smuggling of answer booklets in and out of the examination rooms, helping candidates, carrying offensive weapons, refusing to obey the orders of invigilators, and supervisory staffs ,creating disturbance, instigating other candidates and inscription of answers on bodily parts.
Manley suggested that in reducing this exam malpractice some security measures have been put in place saying the Council should be strict about Manual of Procedure for entering scripts, install CCTV cameras in security places in the WAEC offices with some being out of bounds to certain members of staff.
He said the home office of WAEC in Ghana should provide six staffs to help sort packaging of question papers and monitor the conduct of the exam in Sierra Leone. He maintained that question papers must be placed in bags that are highly secure, sealed and locked with coded padlocks. He furthered that dispatch of question papers to the provincial towns should be done daily and not before 2:00 am of the day of the examination.
This, he said, will ensure that no question paper sleeps in any depot to avoid occurrence of leakage.