Security persons of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), in collaboration with the National Security, have arrested 11 teachers and a headteacher over alleged malpractice in the 2021 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) which took off throughout the country yesterday.
The 12 were picked up at two examination centres in the Offinso Municipality in the Ashanti Region and the Senase R/C Basic School in Berekum in the Bono Region.
A source at WAEC told the Daily Graphic in an interview that at the Offinso Methodist JHS examination centre, a teacher of the Offinso State ‘A’ Junior High School (JHS) was allegedly caught collecting money from the candidates while distributing the Social Studies answer booklets. According to the source, when the teacher was questioned, she admitted to collecting the money but explained that the candidates decided to contribute the money to her for free.
However, WAEC officials believed that the money was meant to influence the invigilator to enable the candidates to indulge in examination malpractice. In the second case, also in the Offinso Municipality, nine teachers and a headteacher were arrested at the Dwamena Akenten M/A JHS examination centre after they were spotted desperately solving the objective part of the Social Studies paper in the morning.
The source further said at the Senate R/C Basic School centre, Ransford Osei, an invigilator, was apprehended for allegedly taking shots of the Social Studies paper, which was being written in the morning, and sending the snapshots to a friend to solve for him. However, while Osei was being escorted by the police, he absconded.
Commenting on the development, the Head of the National Office of WAEC, Mrs Wendy Addy-Lamptey, assured the candidates that they could do well without resorting to malpractice, including cheating. She advised the candidates to manage their time well to be able to answer all the questions, adding that they should also read the questions thoroughly before starting to answer.
While wishing the candidates the best of luck, Mrs Addy-Lamptey advised them to take enough rest “and not be anxious but focused and write what you know”. She expressed concern over the fact that teachers engaged to invigilate or supervise the examination were rather engaged in malpractice and asked the candidates to reject offers from such invigilators because they could equally be wrong.
Meanwhile, the examination commenced smoothly at all centres across the country. In Accra, Joshua Bediako Koomson and Faith Ayorkor Mensah report that COVID-19 protocols were strictly observed at the various centres. The Ayawaso West Municipal Director of Education, Madam Adisa Tassa, who toured some of the centres, presented 1,107 mathematical sets and 1,108 pens for onward distribution to the candidates.
The centres in the municipality are the Nima Cluster of Schools, the St Paul’s Lutheran School and the Flag Staff Basic School. Madam Tassa said she was impressed by the conduct of the candidates.
From the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, Dotsey Koblah Aklorbortu & Augustina Dzodzegbe report that 40,464 candidates from 1,195 schools in the Western Region are taking part in the examination. When the Daily Graphic visited some of the centres, it saw that the candidates were in high spirits. Officials of the Western Regional Education Directorate went around the centres to assess the situation and indicated that all was well.
The Regional Director of Education, Mrs Felicia Agyeibea Okai, wished the candidates well and urged them not to engage in examination malpractice. The Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, in his message to the candidates, wished them well and urged them to observe all the rules governing the examination.
Shirley Asiedu-Addo and Edith Mensah write from Cape Coast that 63,727 candidates are writing the BECE in the Central Region. The COVID-19 protocols are also being fully observed. Some 498 candidates from 18 basic schools are writing the examination at the Holy Child School centre. A supervisor at the centre, Mr Joseph Alex Mensah, indicated that measures had been put in place to ensure that candidates went through the examination without any hitches.
The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Agona East, Madam Janet Odei Paintsil, accompanied by the Presiding Member of the assembly, Nana Kwao Ponsi II; the District Director of Education, Madam Vida Amoah Mintah, and other officials of the assembly visited all the examination centres in the district, writes Gilbert Mawuli Agbey.
In a brief remark, Madam Painstil announced that despite the free SHS policy, the assembly would support girls who excelled in the examination with ‘chop’ boxes, trunks and other educational materials meant for SHS to reduce the financial burden on their parents.
About 30,468 candidates from 657 JHSs across the Northern Region are writing this year’s BECE, Mohammed Fugu reports. When the Daily Graphic visited some centres in the Tamale metropolis, such as the Zogbeli Block A JHS, the Kanvili R/C JHS and the Anglican JHS, on Monday morning, it observed that the candidates were fully prepared for the examination.
A student of the Zogbeli Block A JHS, Adam Salifu, in an interview, said: “I am fully prepared and I hope that everything I have learnt will come.” The Northern Regional Director of Education, Dr Peter Attafuah, who visited some of the centres, urged the candidates to put in their best to enable them to pass the examination.
Upper East Region
A visit to some of the examination centres by the Daily Graphic showed that all the candidates had adhered to the COVID-19 protocols. The Upper East Regional Director of Education, Mr Edward Azure, told the Daily Graphic that adequate measures were in place for a successful examination.
Agnes Melissa Yovo reports that there was orderliness at all the centres in Ho. The Ho Municipal Director of Education, Mr Godwin Amelor, who toured the centres, advised the candidates to eschew examination malpractice and not be intimidated by the presence of invigilators in the examination hall.