9 April 2018

Liberia - WAEC Admits Exams Irregularities, Cites Lack of Honest Examiners

Monrovia — In the wake of disappointments being expressed in the West African Examination Council Liberia Chapter for administering what seems to be a "strange tests", WAEC says dishonesty of examiners is a factor affecting the exam process.

Over the weekend, the Superintendent of the Soltiamon Christian School System, Pastor Solomon G Joah, expressed disappointment in WAEC for several irregularities.

Joah noted this is hampering the smooth conduct of the West African Senior Secondary School Examination or WASSSE.

He said constant intimidation and harassment of students of his institution by examiners remain the order of the day for this years' public examination.

Joah told reporters that instead of WAEC improving its system to create a fair examination process, it has turned out to be worst for the 2018 WASSCE Examination with examiners fully involved with fraud.

"I am one of those who like the standard test for the nation, but sadly the national side is not doing well at all. This year we were hoping that it would be better, but it has become worst. The plotter and examiners are in the examination hall photocopying and answering those questions. And when our students talked they say, allow us to do our jobs," Joah said.

These examination malpractices on the part of WAEC, according to him, were made evidence when students from his institution were threatened by an examiner assigned at the Williams V.S. Tubman High for reporting discrepancy.

Unfortunately, he maintained, WAEC is yet to take measures against these examiners who were reported by the Soltiamon Christian School System.

Joah expressed confidence that his students would better perform in the WASSCE Examination but expressed dismay over acts that would distract them.

"Any high school should pass any high school test and this is what we have been doing here. And that's why all our children are passing," Rev. Joah noted.

"Sadly sometimes, we don't score the division number one and those people who are not to score division number one, score division number one. Perhaps, there are yellow papers passing all over corners here because we have intercepted some."

Moreover, Joah is concern about WAEC being tight-lipped over threats against his students for reporting other students who were spotted cheating (spying) during the exams.

But WAEC Boss Dale G. Gbotoe told FrontPage Africa over the weekend that he is aware of some malpractices being carryout at some examination canters.

"The plotter and supervisors are working against us. They can take one copy of the test, answer it and placed the pamphlet in the bathrooms where students will go and get it easily. The exam is such that it is not possible for us at WAEC to be all over the place at the same time," Gboto said.

In addition to irregularities on the part of examiners, Gbotoe said the inability of schools to register their students when the fees had been clear by government, booklets being unaccounted for by supervisors and students bent on cheating as challenges facing the conduct of the national exams.

One test examiner, name withheld, was arrested in the Barnesville, Dry Rice Market area. He was caught in alleged examination malpractice.

The plotter according to the WAEC boss, is currently in police custody and is expected to be forwarded to court for allegedly possessing WASSCE pamphlet when the test was yet to be administered.

He questioned the credibility of some supervisors assigned at examination hall, while recounting an incidence where a student was caught with an exam paper prior to the distribution of the questioners, but the assigned supervision denied being a part of the scam.

"We sent an official from our head office to one of the centers and he caught a female student with the test pamphlet when it had not been distributed and the supervisor said 'no; no, it is not from here, maybe the girl took it from elsewhere.' How will you be a supervisor and don't check the students coming into the hall," Gbotoe said.

He also shifted blames on school administrators, whom according to him, had advocated for their students to sit the exams in familiar terrains.

The WAEC boss has, in the same time, noted that he is not disappointed about complaints from students that the WASSCE Examination is though.

According to him, it is the first of its kind for Liberian students to officially take the examination and might not get adjusted quickly.

"I am not being disappointed if a child tells me that he has not seen this thing before, because he/she has not being exposed to it. But that is telling us that we have some problem in our educational sector. I am not expecting too much from this first test; I am expecting much from next year's exam but the third year, you will see that our schools will improve," he said.

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