Once again, the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for School Candidates (SC) has taken off and it is for candidates in Ghana alone.
Known as the Ghana Only WASSCE for School Candidates, the examination is being taken by only Ghanaian candidates because the other member-countries of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) – Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia and The Gambia – have reverted their examination calendar to May/June, instead of September/October as it was in the past three years which was occasioned by the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
All the five-member countries used to write the examination in May/June until the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which lasted about nine months, throwing the school calendar off gear.
Consequently, the WASSCE was shifted to September/October for all the member countries.
That went on for two years, and last year, all, except Ghana, returned to the original May/June calendar.
Last year, the Ghana Education Service (GES) explained that Ghana did not revert immediately because it had drawn up a transitional calendar to return to the old system when the academic year begins from September/October and ends in June/July the following year.
That means that Ghana is doing a gradual recovery learning based on contact hours in the classroom because returning to the May/June calendar immediately would amount to giving the candidates the short end of the stick as they would not have met the 1,134 contact hours.
Thankfully, this year’s Ghana Only WASSCE is expected to be the last because the transitional calendar is supposed to return the academic calendar to the old one by 2024, when Ghana would have come up to the same level with the other member countries.
Yesterday, the examination officially took off fully, with all candidates participating in Oral English.
However, the practical aspect of the examination started on July 31, where Visual Art candidates and those doing General Science and French had been busy with their practicals and oral.
As they write the examination, the Daily Graphic joins the examination body, WAEC and other well-meaning stakeholders in the educational sector to wish the candidates well in the examination.
While wishing the candidates well, the Head of National Office (HNO) of WAEC, Wendy Addy-Lamptey, cautioned the candidates against engaging in cheating, which could lead to the withholding of their papers for investigations.
She also urged parents and school authorities to also advise their children and students against taking mobile phones to the examination halls.
The Daily Graphic notes that WAEC has been giving this advice over the years and finds it unfortunate that some candidates, some of whom with the support of their parents still carry mobile phones to the examination halls.
This practice has to stop.
Over the years, most candidates fail the examination because they either do not always read the instructions carefully or do not take their time to read the examination questions well before answering.
It is important for students to note that reading the instructions and the questions well during examinations in itself is a first step to passing the exam.
The paper would like to remind both candidates and the public that Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia and The Gambia have already written their version of the examination and, therefore, it is possible that some past questions for WASSCE 2023 will be out there and candidates must be careful not to be tricked into parting with money in the name of securing ‘apo’.
This is also a reminder to civil society organisations (CSOs) in the educational space not to rush to announce any leakage without critically analysing and checking the facts.
We still stand by our position that no one should take delight in running to social media platforms to announce as being the first to detect the leakage of a question or an examination malpractice.
The Daily Graphic encourages all stakeholders in the educational sector to throw their weight behind WAEC to minimise, if not eliminate, examination malpractice such as leakage of examination questions.
It is also our collective responsibility, as a nation, to support WAEC by providing timeous information on any examination malpractice to the security agencies and to WAEC itself, which has its own internal security to enable the council nip it in the bud.