The Vice-Chair of the National Development Planning Committee, Professor Takyiwaa Manuh says the nation risks losing the credibility of its national exams if reviews of the exercise continue to be politicised.
One of such exams is the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) organised for final year Senior High School students in Ghana and some West African countries.
The West African Examination Council (WAEC), the body that organises the exams, came under intense pressure during the 2020 WASSCE following alleged leakages and some malpractices recorded during the exams.
Some teachers were even interdicted for allegedly aiding students to cheat in the exams.
The issue has come to the limelight again following a report released by an educational think tank, Africa Education Watch, on the malpractices.
The think tank also made some recommendations to help improve the country’s national exams.
Professor Takyiwaa Manuh noted that such a report must be genuinely discussed or the would-be dire consequences.
“I know that part of the difficulty is the whole politicisation around the issues. This is a long-standing issue that needs to be tackled, and I think that the 2020 leakages gave us [Ghana] an opportunity to tackle these very deep-rooted issues.”
“I think that we need to approach the discussion with honesty with humility against scoring cheap political points either to praise ourselves or for someone to also say that all of these were achieved through fraudulent means. This has been going on for a long time, and it needs to stop.”
Meanwhile, the Africa Education Watch has urged the Government of Ghana to take steps to break the monopoly enjoyed by WAEC, in assessing students and conducting examinations in Ghana by regulating the powers of the council.
This was part of twelve recommendations proffered by the education think tank after conducting thorough research and investigation into the 2020 WASSCE.
According to the Executive Director of African Education Watch, Kofi Asare, the research was triggered by the “gravity of malpractices witnessed in the 2020 West African Secondary Schools Examination and the unprecedented leakage of names and contacts of examiners and questions for all but two subjects.”
Presenting a report on the research conducted, Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, said independent international examining bodies should be involved in the examination and assessment arena as a good way to promote healthy competition in the country’s examination space.
“The Education Ministry must set up a regulator of assessment to regulate WAEC and other assessment bodies before their activities become ungovernable. We need to break the WAEC monopoly. WAEC operates in other countries, but they do not have a monopoly in Nigeria, for instance.”
“There are about six or five internationally reputable assessment bodies in Ghana who have been conducting examination every year and no one hears of any leakages, we need to give them an opportunity to participate in the exam sector, bring in various assessments that they use in assessing so that WAEC will compete and when competition comes in, we believe that WAEC will adopt technologies that will reduce the human involvement or human element which is one of the key reasons why there is leakage,” he said in a Citi News interview.