By Chinyere Nwachukwu
The West African Examination Council (WAEC) says it has identified 56 rogue website operators involved in examination malpractice since the start of its ongoing West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for school candidates.
The Head, National Office (HNO) of council, Mr Patrick Areghan, disclosed this on the sidelines of a monitoring exercise he carried out in some schools in Lagos on Thursday.
He also said that no fewer than 20 school officials, allegedly aiding and abetting examination malpractices, had so far been arrested and handed over to the Police.
“There have been issues like candidates copying in the examination hall, some examiners dictating or writing on the chalkboard for candidates, smuggling materials in and out of the hall and other forms of collusion.
“But, most worrisome too, is the issue of rogue websites.
“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.
“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,” he said.
Areghan said that the council had compiled the number of arrests made all over the country so far and would ensure justice was served.
He noted that the council had a very good working relationship with the Inspector-General of Police and other military formations in the country.
The WAEC boss stated that examination malpractice was as old as education itself, all over the world, stressing that this did not mean that citizens should indulge in any form of it.
He called on Ministries of Education, governments and schools to live up to their responsibility in saving the education system from imminent collapse.
“Governments should ensure that they provide teaching facilities, such as laboratories, libraries and a host of others.
“They should also recruit adequate and qualified teachers and get these schools well monitored and supervised to ensure that the children are being taught well.
“”The principals on the other hand must ensure that they maintain absolute discipline and also ensure that the teachers teach.
“They must also ensure that the syllabus is covered. Every school must have at least two copies of the WAEC syllabus and every teacher, a copy.
“We even encourage candidates to buy their own copies so that they will know what they are supposed to be taught.’’
To parents, he advised: “ Parents should get children equipped with necessary materials.
“Get them books and encourage them to go to school.
“Stop funding illegalities for them especially by paying to get examination questions that are nonexistent. They must not be the ones to mislead and destroy the future of their children.
“It is time to sanitise the education system of this country.’’
He reiterated the importance of education.
“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.
According to him, when one destroys education then everything in the country has been destroyed.
He said all hands must, therefore, be on deck to get it right.
Meanwhile, Mr Badejo Morenike, the Principal of Immaculate Heart Comprehensive High School, one of the schools visited, lauded the WAEC boss for his relentless efforts in the fight against examination malpractice in the country.
He said that it was the right step in the right direction, in the nation’s quest for accelerated development.
He noted that only hard work was the way out to a stable and progressive country, adding that the school would continue to stick to academic excellence and nothing less, in a bid to ensure quality was sustained.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that schools visited for the monitoring are, ST and T in Ikeja, Ikeja Senior High School as well as State Senior High School among others. (NAN)