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General News of Friday, 17 September 2010

Source: Daily Guide

WAEC sued - over cancelled exam results

Controversy is brewing over the cancellation of the examination results of some 699 students of St Abed Senior High School in Pankrano, a suburb of Kumasi in the Ashanti region, by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).

The examinations body cancelled the school’s results for the year 2009, following what it claimed to be some examination malpractices. The school has taken a strong exception to the decision.

The management of the school, led by Dr Dasebre Boakye Asiamah, has subsequently dragged WAEC to court, challenging its decision to cancel the results of all the students, with the exception of only Seidu Mohammed, whose results were not cancelled for some strange reason.

The school has, through its lawyers at the Komfo Anokye chambers, prayed the court to issue an order to compel WAEC to release the full results of the students who sat as candidates for the May/June 2009 exams held at the school in Pankrono, Kumasi.

The school is also seeking the court’s order to compel WAEC to rescind its decision of barring the school from registering its students for the May/June 2011 exams and to also declare that the points listed in a letter sent to it by WAEC, dated 23rd February 2010, was not a basis for the cancellation of the results of the 699 candidates.

In its statement of claim, management of the school indicated that sometime in 2008, they registered a total number of 699 students for the said exams at the Ashanti regional office of WAEC in Kumasi and that the examinations were conducted on the school’s premises at Pankrono where the exams body supervised it with two supervisors, 23 invigilators and two security personnel.

They noted that there were no reported incidents of examination malpractices at the school throughout the period of the exams, except one incident in which a student, Ishawu Awudu, was caught referring to a text book behind the schools urinal, which led to that student’s paper being cancelled.

Authorities of St Abed said they were thus surprised that when the results were due to be released, WAEC wrote to them in a letter dated 25th August 2009, inviting them to a meeting to investigate a reported case of examination malpractice committed by the candidates during the examinations.

Later, WAEC asked the school to pay an amount of GH¢360.00 for correction of errors in entries, which it complied.

The authorities said they were surprised when they got to WAEC office after the results were released and were “given a paper which showed the entire results have been cancelled.”

Strangely enough, the school received an envelop which contained the certificate of one of the students, Mohammed Seidu.

However, the school’s authorities said the Regional Controller of WAEC could not offer any reasonable explanation but only told the headmaster of St. Abed that Seidu’s certificate was sent to him from Accra.

The school said it received a letter on 1st March 2010 from the exams body which was dated 23rd February 2010 and headed ‘Cancelled Results And Withdrawal of Centre Number.’

In the letter, WAEC made several unfounded allegations against the school and barred it from registering students for the May/June 2011 examinations.

The authorities of the school are extremely baffled at these developments since, according to its lawyers, “its students did not commit any examination malpractices during the conduct of the May/June 2009 examinations except one isolated case involving one subject” and that “did not also breach any rules of the defendant (WAEC) in connection with registration of students or candidates.”

But in its statement of defense, WAEC, through its lawyer Frederick Selby, said it took the decision to cancel the results of the candidates presented by the school after it was satisfied that St Abed had committed fraud.

WAEC stressed that “the sanction was invoked to protect the sanctity of the examination and in the national interest.”

Apart from the isolated case, the exams body said, the school committed fraud by presenting unqualified candidates for the examination, noting that it is not entitled to the reliefs being sought for.