General News of Sunday, 21 June 2015
Anti-corruption campaigner, Sydney Casely-Hayford has called for comprehensive changes within the West African Examination Council (WAEC) in Ghana.
Questions in some Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) papers were leaked and shared on social media, forcing the examination supervisory body in the country to cancel five of the papers.
The Council and its officials have been blamed for the leak with several bodies, including the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), calling for the dissolution of the entire WAEC board.
It has also been suggested in several quarters that others including the Ministry of Education and candidate must also share responsibility for the leaks.
However, according to Casely-Hayford, the blame for the leaks lies with WAEC and that it was time for the Examination Council to undergo drastic changes to prevent similar occurrences in future.
“It is a WAEC problem. WAEC has the questions, WAEC has the answers, WAEC has the results. Even the computerised system that we are supposed to be using to be balloting people going into [senior high] schools, even that they are messing it up and it has become a corruption centre in that institution,” he said on Citi FM‘s news analysis programme, The Big Issue on Saturday.
“We need to clean that whole place up. We need to shake that establishment up and change things completely. I’m appalled in hearing that there are four sets of questions and each one of them was available on social media. How is that possible? How is it possible that somebody has every single possible option of the examination and all of it appeared on a phone, easily on a phone?,” he queried
Casely-Hayford lamented that situations might become commonplace if steps are not taken to check them.
“There are times when things should wake you up. There are times when your wake up call has to make you shiver in your bones and say if something is not done about this very soon, if we don’t get rid of this and the myriad of other problems that we have then we might as well forget it,” he said.
Five papers in the BECE were cancelled last Wednesday following claims by the officials of WAEC that those papers had been ‘compromised.’
The cancelled papers include English Language 2, Religious and Moral Education 2, Science 2, and Mathematics 2 and Social Studies 2.
A WAEC statement explaining the cancellation stated that “in addition to other sources, the papers have gone viral on social media especially Whatsapp messenger.”
The examination was initially scheduled to end last Friday but the cancelled papers will now be written on June, 29 and 30, 2015.
The Ministry of Education directed the country’s security agencies to investigate circumstances surrounding the leakage of the BECE papers which led to the cancellation of the five papers.
The Deputy Minister of Education in charge of pre-tertiary education, Alex Kyeremeh confirmed that the Ministry had turned to the security agencies as pressure mounts on the education sector to get to the bottom of the leaks.
“It [the cancellation of the results] came to us as a surprise and the Minister has directed us to refer the case to the security agencies to investigate WAEC [West African Examination Council] and come out to report to the whole country as to what exactly happened,” he said on Eyewitness News last Wednesday.
The Interior Minister, Mark Woyongo also indicated that the BNI had been directed to investigate the matter in an interview with Citi News.