WAEC decries rate of exam malpractice, mercenary

By Dayo Adesulu

REGISTRAR to Council, of the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, Dr.
Iyi Uwadiae, has lamented the rate at which students, parents and
merrcenaries connive before and during examination to cheat. Uwadiae who
described it as alarming, warned that if stakeholders do not urgently arrest
the trend, it would erode the future of our students.

The Registrar who spoke in Lagos during a media parley with editors to laud
the virtues and achievements of the President of Nigerian Guild of Editors,
Mrs. Funke Egbemode, said: “There is no short cut to success, if you prepare,
you will pass your examination.”

He noted that in the last four years, no Nigerian student has made first
position in African examinations. “In the last four years, when we did the
global excellence awards and put all the results of students together, Ghana,
which is not up to a state in Nigeria, has been taking the first, second and
third positions except last year when Nigeria came second, while Ghana still
emerged first and third.

“We feel pained and disturbed. If we just say ours is to give out the
questions, conduct the exams and mark the scripts, people will ask after
some years what we did to arrest the downward trend. We want all hands to
be on deck to let them know that there is no short cut to success. If you
prepare, you will make it. If you read, you will pass,” he said.

Uwadiae, however, pointed out that some people who call themselves
mercenaries are misleading the students. According to him, “these people
would promise to give students questions for each examination, but unknown
to the innocent candidates, they are fake question papers. These people do
them more harm than good.”

Fake WAEC question papers

He said that there are some faceless individuals, especially since the
introduction of social media, who make money from students through the
sale of fake WAEC question and answer papers.

Surprisingly, he noted that many parents are involved. “Many parents go to
any length to get question papers for their children before examination. The
same parents will be looking for examiners who will give them scripts to
assist their children pass.”

He said it beats his imagination how students raise such huge amounts of
money to obtain the so-called question papers adding that it is ridiculous for
somebody to have a WAEC certificate and yet cannot spell his father’s name
correctly. “Can you blame WAEC for that? No,” he said.

Uwadiae who described exam malpractice as terror, urged the government to
label those who aid and abet it as terrorists. Against this backdrop, he
disclosed that on October 19 and 20, the Council will be bringing stakeholders
from member-countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and
Gambia to present papers, rub minds together and share experiences from
their various countries; adding that media correspondents will be allowed to
participate in the international examination summit slated for October in
Nigeria.

He said: “If this is the only way we can sensitise the public to know some of
the tricks WAEC candidates use these days, maybe the innocent ones they
want to recruit will be liberated. We need that very urgently.

Sensitising the public

“We are doing what we are supposed to do. We are bringing the venue of the
meeting here because we have the population in Nigeria. If we keep quiet
concerning the education sector, no one will do it for us.”

Explaining the difference between WAEC and JAMB examinations, he said:
“The examinations conducted by WAEC rely on valid and reliable tests. It is
achievement test and not selection test. We test the achievements of
candidates at the senior secondary school level. When candidates pass
WAEC, they say we have dealt with WAEC, but when they fail, they say WAEC
failed me. WAEC scores you based on what you wrote.”

Also, going down memory lane, the Registrar compared what WAEC used to
be years back and what it is now. He said that in those days, WAEC would
set the questions, bring them to Lagos and distribute to all regions or states,
then to the schools. He noted, “Because there were not too many schools,
they were handed over to the principals of the schools for safe keep.

“In my own days, the reverend fathers of the Catholic schools were the ones
keeping the questions and nothing ever happened to those scripts. Nobody
was going after these question papers. In the examination halls in those
days, you dare not look sideways as you would be sent out of the hall by the
reverend father.

“If we compare that time with today, there is a wide difference. At that time,
it was only the supervisor that was allowed to come to the examination
venue who would collect the students’ scripts and keep in the principal’s
office and at the end of the examinations, WAEC took them away.

Collecting the students’ scripts

“Gradually, we have moved away from that because the situation is becoming
risky leaving question papers with the school. The principals may have good
intention, but we have cases where principals’ offices were burgled.”

To arrest the trend, he said: “WAEC decided that since people are so
desperate, we will be keeping the question papers in our strong room. But
again, there were threats from external forces. With the introduction of social
media, we are being terrorized. These people run after our examination
papers, solve them and pretend to be giving out the solutions and the
innocent students buy into it.

“Three weeks ago, they cloned question papers of 2016 for 2017 and were
selling it to students. Innocent students were buying it. It is not only painful
to us as WAEC staff, but as Nigerians. These children are no longer achieving
because they are going to fail at the end of the day. How do we explain that
these people are not doing well? Is it because they have no teachers? The
answer is no. They are taught. But rather than concentrating on what they
are taught, they wait for ready- made answers.

“On Facebook , my name and picture were cloned to defraud innocent citizens.
The recent one was to advertise a job in my name, asking job seekers to pay
certain amount of money before they get the job in WAEC.”

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