EXAM LEAKAGES ET AL

EXAM LEAKAGES ET AL
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So there are allegations that the WASSCE (School Exams) 2016 question papers have leaked! I am told that last year the question papers leaked! Again, I’m told a similar thing happened last two years! That makes it three consecutive times! Whoa! No wonder there’s a lot of noise in the media nowadays about WAEC this or WAEC that!

The way the discussions have been going on in the media reminded about when I was in class two several years ago. We read a story of how a single cat worried and harangued the entire mice community that they called a meeting to discuss how to overcome the cat. After a lot of talk led by the youth, they decided that they should put a bell around the neck of the cat so that whenever he makes a move they would hear. Everybody was happy at the suggestion and thought their problems were behind them. It however, took the words of the oldest one among them to come back to their senses. Her words were simply ‘who will bell the cat”?

So I was telling you about the alleged leakage of WASSCE question papers wasn’t I? The recriminations against the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has to say the least been resounding in the media.

Very Rev. S. N. Ollennu, Head of National Office (WAEC)

Very Rev. S. N. Ollennu, Head of National Office (WAEC)

It has been such that the President John Mahama had no other recourse but to jump into the fray. And you know, the moment touches anything no matter how mundane, it becomes a political matter. That is where we are today!

This is an election year and like I implied earlier, even the most mundane of issues could be politicised overnight. Make no mistake the media set the agenda for the country and everybody dances to their tune. The keg that ignited the leakage bug before the general populace got on the bandwagon was set by the media. Then the opinion leaders also got on board and by the time the institutions joined in, there was no controlling whatever problem we had on our hands.

The anchormen on especially radio are doing their work alright but they should be very careful. This was an exam that was only into its first week and you go about telling the whole world that all the papers have leaked! Who told you and how do you know that all the papers have leaked? Look, at that point in time, no media house had contacted the Council to ascertain the veracity of what they were hearing. All that was important to the media was scoop and the need to set the agenda for the people.

The moment they opened the Pandora’s box and everybody got on board they created an erroneous impression that it was the Council and its workers that were responsible for the alleged leakage. Who has conducted any investigation and come to the conclusion that such was the case. Don’t we know that the exams that is being written are not peculiar to Ghana? You go on air and say that you have ‘the questions on a website and on Whatsapp’ and still you don’t understand what harm you are doing to this country.

But in all that have been going round, a few suggestions given by others to solve the leakage menace caught my attention. I shook my head at some, smiled at others and got angry at others. How could Prof. Adei go to the extent of saying that the exams conducted by WAEC have been so compromised that Universities should organise entrance exams before admitting students. Talk is cheap! The poor man doesn’t even know up till today that while he was the Rector at GIMPA, the lecturers were giving exam questions to mostly the ladies for ‘favours’

Also, I hope I didn’t hear a one-time Director – General of the Ghana Education Service (GES) right. How could he suggest that the Head of National Office be asked to step aside? Having been Chairman of the Ghana Administration and Finance before and having been a minister of Education, he should have known better before opening his mouth wide. Unless being an election year, he wanted to make a political capital of the leakage. During his time, what did he do to stem the leakage menace?

But the funniest of all the suggestions came from IMANI. How could anybody from IMANI suggest that the questions should be put on pen drive and an hour to the exams, the papers should be printed at the exam centres. Eiiiiii! What if the pen drive or the printer refuses to work? What if there is power outage? Don’t talk to me about generators because even in the schools that have generators, they don’t have money for fuel.

Hahaha! People want to be heard on every issue. It’s only in Ghana that when an issue like an exam leakage occurs nobody thinks about inviting officials of WAEC to their programs because they believe the Council is guilty. One Communications Director of one of the political parties was bold to suggest that there should be no BECE and all schools should conduct their own exams and move into Senior High Schools. Someone should ask him how the pupils would qualify to enter which school? I smell a huge confusion in the air!

PEACE FM insignia

PEACE FM insignia

Let’s be careful about some of the ‘messiahs’ who have become exam experts overnight. Some of the suggestions that are being proffered would cause more harm than good. Were we not in this country when people were allowed to suggest every voter would have to access the biometric machine before being allowed to vote? What happened when most of the machines failed to work and the chaos created nearly brought the country to the brink of war!

Everybody is talking about the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) going into the alleged leakages. Weren’t the BNI involved when a similar incident occurred last year? I’m sure BNI had a hand in most of the security measures being employed by WAEC now. Secondly, why didn’t the president or the Minister for Education demand a report from the BNI last year? By the way this demand to haul WAEC before parliament would not achieve anything.

The Minister for Education, Naana Opoku Agyemang

The Minister for Education, Naana Opoku Agyemang

A word of admonition to the media, the Fifth Estate of the realm. The media should set positive agenda and not an agenda that sets the people against national institutions. If care is not taken at the end of the day, the media through their reportage would have bastardised most national institutions. Today it’s WAEC. The other day it was the Electoral Commission (EC). Then, they turned on the Police Service. In whose interest do we set our agenda?

Naked pictures of celebrities are leaked on social media and the pressmen make of the situation on air. Leaked official documents are continually being leaked in the press and nobody sees anything wrong. If the press could leak official government documents, what in effect are we telling the next generation? There’s need for circumspection if we are to forge ahead as a nation and as a people.

WAEC have been charged to do a job for Ghanaians. Ghanaians should have faith and trust in the Council to deliver on its mandate. Let’s tone down on the criticisms and allow WAEC to handle the situation that has arisen. Of course, investigate the source of the alleged leakage but stop ridiculing and indicting the officials and inciting the populace against the workers. The Council has proven over the years that she has the wherewithal to overcome the challenges at hand.

 


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