Very Reverend Dr Sam Nii Nmai Ollennu, the Head of West African Examination Council, National Head Office, has said that 2, 293 candidates cheated in last year’s West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
He said with the aid of the new anti-malpractice software, Item Differentia Profile (IDP), developed by the West African Examination Council (WAEC), candidates who were identified to have cheated in the core subjects namely English Language, Mathematics and Integrated Science also had their relevant subject results cancelled.
“In spite of the interactions with candidates during our sensitization programmes and engagement with stakeholders, quite a number of malpractices were recorded in the 2016 WASSCE.
“Consequently, for the 2016 WASSCE for school candidates, 11,277 candidates lost various subject results, whilst 647 candidates had their entire results cancelled,” Rev Ollennu made the observation at the 2016 WASSCE Distinction Awards held in Accra on Thursday.
The WASSCE Distinction Awards is a scheme on the WAEC calendar that honours candidates who obtain a minimum of grade eight A1’s in every year’s WASSCE.
Rev Ollennu therefore appealed to supervisors and invigilators to be more vigilant going forward.
“We wish to pledge that we will put in all the necessary arrangements to ensure the examinations are conducted successfully.
“We wish to affirm our commitment to the fight against examination malpractices in general and the conduct of leakage-free examination in particular,” he said.
According to Rev Ollennu, an analysis of the results for the 2016 WASSCE for school candidates indicated that candidates performed better in all the core subjects during the examination than they did in 2015.
He, however, revealed that based on the Chief Examiners report, Ghanaian students performed poorly at trigonometry, geometry, logarithm and story questions in Mathematics adding that “Yet no efforts seem to be directed at improving the situation until recently when the Ministry held seminars for teachers of least performing schools,” he said.
For the awards winners for the various programme, Ms Sedinam Adwoa Botwe, of the Wesley Girls High School, Cape Coast won a cedi equivalent to 400 dollars from the Ghana National Office of WAEC, a laptop, a certificate and a plaque for her school for being the best General Arts Student, while Ms Domuah Ailleen of Akosombo International School received the same prizes for being the best Business student with Master Kpodo Courage of Anglican Senior High School receiving similar awards respectively after excelling as the best visual Arts Student.
Master Pius Kyere, formerly of St James Seminary Senior High School was adjudged the overall best student in Ghana.
For his prize, Master Kyere smiled home with 600 dollars from the WACE endowment fund, 400 dollars for being the overall General Science student, a full scholarship through tertiary education from Universal Merchant Bank (UMB), a personal account by UMB, a cash prize of GH¢ 2,000 from Mr Dares Mills, the Member of Parliament for Berekum, a laptop from UMB, certificate and a plaque for his school.
Taking the second overall best student award in Ghana, Master Benjamin Bortey Sango, formerly of Accra Academy Senior High School, received 500 dollars from the WAEC endowment fund, GHC 200 cash prize and GHC 300 investment amount from First Banc, a laptop from UMB and a plaque for his school.
The overall third prize winner, Master Richmond Kwame Mensah, a former student of St James Seminary Senior High School received 1,000 dollars and a laptop from BOND.
Meanwhile, two candidates who were awarded would take international awards in Nigeria.
Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister for Education, lauding WAEC for the initiative said it was in line with government’s objective of shifting focus of education from merely students passing exams to being citizens who could think critically and compete with their counterparts over the World.
He urged the awardees to continue to work hard as they had done previously.
“Strife to work harder and continue to improve as candidates do not need to engage in malpractices or cut corners to excel,” he advised.
Dr Opoku Prempeh pledged of the ministry’s assistance to put in resources that would improve the sector.
The sector minister commended teachers, parents, school heads of awardees for being the source of inspiration to the young ones.
He expressed the expectation that more students would receive more of such award going forward taking into consideration the massive investment government had been doing in the private sector.
Bemoaning the rate at which examination malpractices continued to be a setback befalling WAEC over the years, called on stakeholders to collaborate with the council for its goal of establishment to be met.
Some of the awardees who spoke to the Ghana News Agency expressed happiness at their recognition, thanked their parents and teachers for their support and called on other students to make hay whiles the sun shines by marrying their books and giving birth to success.
Last year’s WASSCE was conducted for 274,262 candidates. This number consisted of 141,524 males and 132,738 females.
The total number was an increase of two per cent over the 2015 candidature of 268,812.
Three hundred and forty-four candidates out the number that sat for the 2016 examination met the criterion for the awards, that is to say 344 candidates obtained eight grade A1’s.
The candidates were from 887 schools and included 58 visually-impaired candidates.