Today’s Press Conference by the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) is to express profound disappointment at the shambolic performance of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) over the years, and to make some recommendations. We wish to bring into particular focus, the circumstances that led to the cancellation of five (5) papers in this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). It must also be noted that the recently written WASSCE was not speared its share of the irregularities when a paper for 2016 was administered in 2015 ahead of schedule and outside the syllabus. The situation is extremely disturbing considering that it is fast becoming an annual ritual. Year in, year out, questions are leaked, papers cancelled and examinations rescheduled. For how long should this mess be allowed to go on?
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We agree that some pupils, students, teachers and indeed anybody could be culpable for the leakages. We are however certain that most leakages take their source from WAEC itself. It is unfortunate that WAEC staff are highly insulated and hardly suffer any serious penalties from their wrong doings.
It is our very strong conviction that WAEC is able to afford these unpardonable in efficiencies because of the monopoly it enjoys. It is clear that whether their services are good or not and whether we like them or not they are the only one we have. WAEC has become an untouchable bully that pushes bad services down our throat while no one dare question them.
NAGRAT as a Teacher Union and a major stakeholder in education is very much worried about the trauma that pupils, students, parents and teachers go through when this unnecessary ritual is performed. The stress involved in preparing to rewrite a paper that has just been written is an ordeal everyone abhors. Very high transport and out of station costs are incurred anytime examinations have to be rewritten. In all such instances WAEC pays no compensation to the negatively affected people. Again WAEC as an institution suffers no collateral damage. It is high time that WAEC is made to bear all cost emanating from its inefficiencies.
With these negative developments, pupils and students usually are unable to put up their best, resulting in poor performance. Many of them get their education truncated while others are unable to be placed according to their real strengths. Expectedly, the poor performances are hurriedly put at the doorsteps of teachers. We in NAGRAT can no longer take such underserved blame silently.
NAGRAT therefore recommend that
- The monopoly of WAEC as the sole examining body at the Junior and Senior High Schools should be discontinued. Government should encourage and promote the creation of alternative examination bodies. This is seen in many advanced countries and can be done in Ghana. We believe this will help promote the integrity of our examinations and certificates.
- Acknowledging that this unfortunate situation will plunge most of our students into traumatic condition; the need for counseling becomes imperative, and this is the time we call on all teachers to rise and be counted. Let us not sit down and claim that we have finished with these candidates. Let us mobilize them, and take them through counseling and psyche them to boldly confront the difficult days ahead. Parents and all other stakeholders must also do their best to encourage these children to confidently face the days ahead and with such renewed hope, the sky will be their limit.
- We call for the dissolution of the Board for WAEC and the appointment of a more efficient one in its place. We also strongly request that the Head of WAEC be made to step aside while investigations are being conducted into the leakages. They must go because they have failed Ghanaian teachers, they have failed Ghanaian parents. They have failed our children, they failed the nation.We all trusted them and handed a major determinant for the future of our children to them but they failed. They failed to bring WAEC up to speed with 21st century virtual securities and hence they cannot be made to continue.
- Finally we call on government not to leave investigations of this matter in the hands of WAEC as has always been the case. It is therefore welcoming news that government had decided to use state apparatus to investigate this heinous crime against Ghanaian children, and our society.
We wish to conclude that let no one found culpable in this condemnable act be spared. Be he a teacher, a pupil, a parent, a WAEC staff or whoever. NAGRAT will be monitoring closely the outcome of this investigation and we hope that never again will this scandal ever recur in our beloved country Ghana.
Stanislaus P. Nabome