By Shirley Barwuah, Josephine Akari, Kofi Sakyiama Pobi & Georgina Ama Ankomah.
The West African Examinations Council (WAEC), has stated that the Physics and Business Management Papers of the on-going West African Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) scheduled for September 15, 2021 have been postponed, citing technical reasons.
WAEC stated that a new date would be communicated in due course for the writing of the Papers. Meanwhile, 11 Senior High Schools (SHS) are on the radar of WAEC upon a tip off that they intend to perpetuate Examination Malpractices. At a Media briefing in Accra, on September 15, 2021, Head of Test, Administration Division at WAEC, George Ohene-Mantey, disclosed that activities of rogue websites, Whatsapp and Telegram groups are being tracked and those found culpable would be sanctioned.
Impact on Students in Accra
In connection with the cancellation of the Business Management and Physics Examination Papers, by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), in the ongoing WASSCE, GBC News visited some schools in Accra to ascertain the impact of the cancellation on the students.
At the Accra High Senior School, some of the students expressed frustration at the new development, saying they had prepared well for the Examination and called on authorities at WAEC to put measures in place to avoid future occurrences.
“We were told it was not cancellation, but a technical problem. We are very disappointed because we did not expect that. I am totally broken. My message to WAEC is that they should let us write the Exams as soon as possible,” one student stated.
“There have been double tracks and the Covid-19 pandemic. We were fully prepared. Our mindset was Physics, but the Exams did not take place,” a student bemoaned.
Another student said, ”It is a mixed feeling, as it is also an opportunity to revise our notes. Nevertheless, what happened should not happen again.”
Reaction from School Authorities.
The Assistant Headmistress, Academics Accra High, Monica Botchway-GboGbo said the school informed the students about the new development as soon as they received the notification from WAEC. She emphasized that the students have been taught and are adequately prepared for the Exams and such changes should not affect them.
”We were informed by WAEC that they had a technical issue so the Physics and Business Management that was supposed to be written had been postponed. Because we work with machines, printing anything could happen. When we got the information, we were not really worried. We only had to inform the students and they understood. We are not going to teach them what we have done over the 3 years, I’m sure whatever comes, they will be able to answer,” according to the Headmistress, Madam Monica Botchway-GboGbo.
Meanwhile, the Headmaster of the Saint Thomas Aquinas Senior High School, Paul Amoasi Baidoo has suggested that since WAEC is regulated by other West African Countries, like Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Gambia, the Examination Body Oversight duties could be rotated in the member countries to avoid the problem of Examination Malpractices. He encouraged students to study hard and not engage in Examination Malpractices, what he called ‘’apor’’( a popular Ghanaian terminology for having access to Examination Questions).
”Technical issues could be anything but it involves leakage. The exam body must sit up. The Exams are written in 5 Countries, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia Sierra Leone. There should be a rotation every year for each country. So that we know the country that leaks the questions and the country could be monitored. These things make us lose the credibility of our Exams,” the Headmaster posited.
Situation in Ashanti Region.
When our Ashanti Regional Correspondent Georgina Ama Ankumah visited Saint Louis, T I Ahmaddiyya, Osei Tutu, Kumasi Secondary Technical School, and the Prempeh Senior High Schools, the students said they felt disappointed. Some of the students were in the classroom, while others had left for their dormitories and homes. They were however hopeful that the Papers which had been suspended would be written after their last Paper to prevent further inconveniences. Science and Business Students were supposed to write their Physics and Business Management Papers on September 15, 2021, but were cancelled to their disappointment.
Situation in the Central Region.
From the Central Region, Our Correspondent, Kofi Sakyiama Pobi reported that the students were demoralized by the cancellation of the Papers. Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of Education, Ntim Fordjour had toured some schools in the Central Region and observed the on-going West African Secondary School Certificate Examinations, WASSCE. Some of the schools visited were the Assin Manso SHS, the Aburaman SHS and the Nyankumasi Ahenkro SHS.
He reiterated the government’s commitment to providing the needed infrastructure to improve the quality of teaching and learning.