The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has alleged that some school principals, invigilators and supervisors, working alongside notorious syndicates now collaborate with candidates to cheat in its examinations, especially the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
WAEC spoke against the backdrop of weekend’s parade by the Lagos State Police Command of four suspects who had pleaded guilty to the allegation of engaging in the retailing trade of live questions of examinations conducted by the Council.
In a statement yesterday by the examination body, a copy of which was made available to Newsmen by its Head of Public Affairs Unit, Mr. Demianus Ojijeogu, WAEC confirmed that through its monitoring activities, unholy alliances among school administrators, invigilators, supervisors and the candidates have resulted in cheating in its examinations.
WAEC said investigations have revealed that the culprits take mobile phones into the examinations’ hall and take photograph of questions as soon as distributed to the candidates and forward to the syndicate outside the hall.
“Our monitoring and investigations of the ongoing examination have established the fact that certain school principals, invigilators, supervisors and candidates who had succeeded in smuggling mobile phones and other electronic devices into the examination hall snap the question papers after the examination must have commenced and forward to their criminal collaborators who in turn provide solutions to the questions and send to their subscribers via rogue websites, SMS, WhatsApp and other social media,” the examination body said.
It, however, denounced the claim that its examination papers leak before the scheduled examinations.
“The question papers for the on-going WASSCE for school candidates 2018 did not leak as has been erroneously portrayed in the media. “Leakage can be said to have occurred when the question papers get into hands of individuals who are not supposed to have them before the time scheduled on the timetable.
“Without any iota of doubt, the Council wishes to state that no case of leakage has been established since the beginning of the examination,” it said. As part of solutions to address the challenge, the examination body has suggested that mobile phones’ network should be jammed within specific radius covering the examination centres or outright shutting down of internet nationwide as done in some countries.
WAEC noted that it lacks the power to carry out such actions, calling on relevant stakeholders including mobile network service providers, regulatory agencies and government to collaborate to address the challenge. In the interim, WAEC claims it is working hard to ensure that no candidate, invigilator or supervisor is allowed to go into the examination halls with banned items, including mobile phones.
The Council warned that it has the capability and capacity to detect and punish candidates who must have benefited from the fraudulent activities of the operators of rogue websites and WhatsApp platforms.
At the weekend, the Lagos State Police Command had paraded 28-year-old Samuel Kayode from Ondo State; Adebayo Ifeoluwa, 17, from Osun State; Alayande Ahmed and Elusode Festus, 20, from Edo State, for trading in WASSCE question papers via rogue websites and WhatsApp platforms.