By Gabriel Dike
The Nigerian head of national office (HNO), West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Mr. Patrick Areghan, has said some parents aid examination malpractice by providing money to their children to buy leaked questions and answers, also called ‘expo.’
Areghan, in an exclusive interview with The Education Report, also disclosed that the WAEC management was mindful that the 1.5 million candidates who are writing the May/June 2021 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) will require the results for admission into tertiary institutions.
He explained that, rather than encourage their wards to study for examinations, some parents give them money to look for exam question papers, which are fake.
His words: “Parents should stop ‘sorting out’ for their children during examinations. They spend money looking for expo. A candidate has exams and would be sitting for hours waiting for prepared answers.’’
According to him, some candidates sit in examination halls and wait several hours for syndicates to smuggle solved answers them.
The HNO said the council introduced operation 45/90 project and that 45 days after examination is conducted, candidates will get the results while 90 days is for certification.
Areghan pledged that, with the 1,573,789 candidates now seating for the school examination, the WAEC staff will work round the clock to ensure the results are released on time so that they can use it to process their admissions into tertiary institutions.
“Is it not foolishness on the part of a candidate sitting in exam hall and waiting for answers and would spend hours waiting for solved answers? The public do not even bother to know the outcome of the exams or how many of such candidates get their results.
“WAEC will catch them, if examiners detect any form of malpractice. The examiner will catch you using item-differentiating profile. We equally scrutinized the essay part and we will still get them. For instance, in a school when more than 50 per cent of candidates have committed malpractice, we de-recognize such school.
“Candidates’ results are cancelled and, in some cases, for the entire school. The notion and rumour that WAEC cancels candidates’ results so they will come back and we make more money is false and that is not the case.
“I met with the Inspector-General of Police and presented our case to him on rogue website operators and solicited his support. This is what they have been doing over the years; remember last year, many of them were arrested and paraded, they are facing prosecution.
“This year, we have also requested the IGP to help us, so that we can check this menace. The only way this can completely be checked is to jam the network during the conduct of examinations,” he explained.
On release of the May/June 2021 WASSCE result, Areghan said the 45/90 operational policy was introduced to ensure results are released within the time frame and promised that the council will meet the target.
The HNO said staff work on Saturdays and Sundays during and after marking answer scripts: “We bend backward to work day and night as well as round the clock to process the results.”
“Nigerians are hardworking and I can beat my chest for WAEC staff. When we come back, there are other processes; so, our staff work on Saturday, Sunday and even public holidays. We grade and award marks. The entire processes is done within the time frame and then the results are ready for release.”
Areghan warned rogue-website operators to desist from their nefarious acts, urging them to be patriotic citizens and stop giving the council a bad name, stressing, “It is only lazy schools and candidates that resort to examination malpractice. Anyone caught conniving with rogue-website operators or patronizing them will be seriously dealt with. Security agencies are closely monitoring them and their activities.”
He also disclosed that the council was watching out for the so-called ‘special’ or ‘miracle’ centres. The HNO said WAEC could not claim to be oblivious of such a scenario,
“They are centres where candidates are promised assistance for cheap grades by ‘examination contractors.’ We will definitely not allow them,” he said. “No matter how remotely located they are, our in-built anti-malpractice mechanism will fish them out. It will not be wise to spend a whole six years preparing for the examination, only to end up not getting any result.”