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Opinions of Monday, 30 August 2004

Columnist: Amos-Abanyie, Emmanuel

WAEC: Worst Academic Existing Council?

Fellow Ghanaians:

Most of you may be tired of reading about the West African Examinations Council and its inability to restore sanity in the administration of very crucial national examinations. However, I could not allow WAEC?s recent spotlight in the media to be slipped under the mat without commenting on the issue. As we all know, the examinations administered by WAEC in a way determine the future prospects of many individuals in our dear nation. For this reason, the operations of the council should be of concern to all positive thinking citizens.

Having had the opportunity to take three of the most important national examinations administered by this body- Basic Education Certificate Examination, Ordinary Level Examination and Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, it is very difficult for me to come to terms with the continuous daunting image of the Council.

In recent times the council, which once had a great reputation, has been threatened by some few individuals who out of ?necessity? or greed to meet their daily needs or amass illegitimate wealth have resorted to the sale of examination questions prior to national exams. The actions of these individuals are unpardonable and should be condemned by all citizens who believe in important attributes such as honesty and uphold human dignity. One would expect that educational institutions, which serve as agents of moral and character training, would be the ones to promote this culture of honesty. Unfortunately, it appears that honesty may be a thing of the past as the agents of socialization have found themselves entangled in the nasty culture of unhealthy competition.

Today, the unhealthy competition that exists between schools serves an incentive for individuals to take advantage of the system. It is rather unfortunate that many schools in an attempt to maintain a high ranking in the nation have resorted to all kinds of means to receive unfair advantage in WAEC examinations. More so, students who have ?wasted? most of their educational career are the most active in the pursuit of examination questions popularly known as ?apo.? What disturbs me the most is that schools that are actively involved in this criminal activity may not have assessed the impact such an act has on the students they graduate. Ghana?s educational institutions do not want to be the breeding ground for dishonest people who would always want to manipulate any system to their advantage.

WAEC knows the root causes that lead to the leakage of examination questions. It is therefore important that the necessary measures are put in place to restore its image. It is not for me to provide WAEC a memorandum listing the measures that need to be implemented because the council is very much aware of what needs to be done. On this note, I implore the management of the examination council to nip this problem in the bud before the situation gets out of hand. Educational institutions should encourage their students to uphold honesty. Most importantly, institutions are required to provide its students with all the needed materials to enable them prepare adequately for their examinations. Only then can this disgraceful act be brought to an end. In as much as there are dishonest people willing to buy examination questions, the reputation of the governing council can never be restored. In fact, WAEC will cease to be the West African Examinations Council and take upon itself the name Worst Academic Existing Council.

Watch out for next article entitled ?Voices?


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