THE West African Examination Council (WAEC) has said 20 school officials have been arrested for allegedly aiding and abetting examination malpractice in the ongoing West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
The Head of the Council’s National Office (HNO), Patrick Areghan, made this known to newsmen in Lagos on Friday, June 9.
Areghan revealed that the Council has also identified 56 operators of rogue websites involved in examination malpractice.
He highlighted various forms of malpractice that have been observed, including candidates copying in the examination hall, examiners dictating answers or writing them on the chalkboard for candidates, smuggling of materials in and out of the hall, and collusion.
“Now, let me tell you confidently that so far, we have identified 56 of these rogue website operators and those who patronise them, and we are going to pick them up,” he said.
“The materials that candidates see on these rogue websites are all fake, as most times, the operators resort to photoshopping.
“They can just superimpose 2023 on top of a paper of 2020 and use it to deceive them.
“By the time they get to the examination hall, they become blank, as everything will become strange to them.”
Areghan assured that the Council has compiled the number of arrests made nationwide and would ensure that justice is served.
He added that the Council has forged a strong collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force and other military formations in the country.
Areghan noted that examination malpractice has been a longstanding issue worldwide, and urged ministries of education, governments, and schools to fulfil their responsibilities in safeguarding the education system from imminent collapse.
In the same vein, he called on governments to provide necessary teaching facilities like laboratories and libraries, recruit qualified teachers, and ensure effective monitoring and supervision of schools.
He stressed the importance of maintaining discipline, covering the syllabus, and making the WAEC syllabus readily available to teachers and students.
Areghan also advised parents to equip their children with the necessary materials, encourage their education and refrain from funding illegal activities such as purchasing non-existent examination questions.
Areghan reiterated the significance of education as the foundation of society and a vehicle for development. He emphasised that the quality of assessment determines the quality of education, which, in turn, affects the level of development and the overall quality of a country.
“I have said it over and over again. Education is the bedrock of society. It is the vehicle to development. The quality of assessment in any nation determines the quality of education and the quality of education determines the level of development and the quality of that country,” he said.
Earlier this year, 13 secondary schools were de-recognised by WAEC for their involvement in examination malpractice. The schools were found to have allowed students to cheat in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Similarly, in 2020, while the examination was ongoing, WAEC arrested 12 people for allegedly selling fake WASSCE results sheets. The suspects were arrested in Lagos and Abuja.
In 2020, WAEC withheld the results of over 200,000 candidates for examination malpractice. The candidates were found to have cheated in the WASSCE by using mobile phones, writing notes on their bodies, and copying from each other.
Also, in 2021, the Council withheld the results of over 170,000 candidates for examination malpractice. The candidates were found to have cheated in the WASSCE by using mobile phones, writing notes on their bodies, and copying from each other.