8 February 2013

Sierra Leone: For Exams Malpractices, WAEC Goes Biometric

Freetown — Head of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) in Sierra Leone Monday disclosed to Concord Times that plans are underway to introduce a biometric system of registration for all private candidates in the forthcoming West Africa Senior Secondary Certification Examination (WASSCE).

According to Sheriff Sapateh, the council has noticed series of examination malpractices among students over the years and one of the shortest ways to address some of these anomalies is to introduce a system that will clearly show the biodata of candidates.

He said the new system will help the council and students to perfectly take their examinations without any hindrance.

"We noticed that some candidates enter for exams but do not actually take them. They hire other people to write the exams for them," Sapateh said. "Another challenge we are faced with is that some candidates give their details to their relatives or friends to do the entry. In most cases, they do the wrong entries for them. When the new system is launched, examiners can only allow you to enter the examination hall after taking your fingerprint on the biometric machine."

He added that the council has provided training facilities for personnel handling the equipment and will collaborate with some internet café operators across the country for the effective implementation of the scheme.

It could be recalled that a good number of WASSCE results for 2012 to 2013 were seized by the council as a result of purported malpractices.

Also, in 2010, over 300 cellphones were arrested from candidates writing the 2010 Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) across the country after it was discovered that pupils were using mobile phones to perpetrate examination malpractices through SMS texts.

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