This year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) began has taken off and close to forty thousand candidates are taking part in the five-day examination. Previous years’ results indicate that almost half of the candidates who sit BECE do not qualify to progress to the next step of the academic ladder. For this reason, there are often reported cases of malpractices leading to cancelation of papers and withholding of examination results. This is very unfortunate and candidates sitting this year’s BECE and WASSCE must guard against it.
Final examinations are not new and students know that they are an inevitable hurdle to scale as soon as they get into schools. Besides, the questions are usually within the syllabi and candidates must write what they know instead of resorting to dubious means of passing their examination. In an effort to pass, many candidates have, over the years, resorted to all forms of examination malpractices such as impersonation, carrying foreign materials into the examination hall, leakage, collusion and mass cheating. These nefarious activities by candidates have dragged the image of the West African Examinations Council in the mud for a long time and it is about time serious measures were adopted to reverse the trend. Penalties such as cancellation of results, fines and prison terms await culprits, but students and their collaborators seem undeterred. What the candidates must not lose sight of is the fact that their future can be ruined if caught cheating. The mental trauma of having one’s name published in a national newspaper for cheating in an examination and its effect on one’s future cannot be erased. Candidates must also be vigilant about people parading the schools and claiming to possess leaked examination papers. After duping their victims, these so-called “Apo Doctors” vanish into thin air. Instead of collaborating with these tricksters seeking their daily bread through dubious means, school authorities and candidates should report them to the appropriate quarters. Candidates should also be wary of the numerous punishments that await anyone who indulges in examination malpractices of any kind. Teachers and school authorities who help students to cheat in order to give their schools good grades should desist from the act because cheating is criminal. Helping students to cheat and pass external examination is a disincentive to hard work since the younger ones will expect such assistance when their time comes. It is also a way of breeding corrupt and irresponsible citizens, who will eventually grow to become the bane of national development. We already have too many of such miscreants milking the state coffers dry and schools must not help breed more.
Three other West African countries, Nigeria, Liberia and The Gambia are also writing this examination and at the end of the day, if anything should be said of Ghana, it ought to be complimentary. Parents, teachers and students should therefore help WAEC to conduct an incident-free examination. We wish all the W. A. S. S. C. E and B. E. C. E. candidates the best of luck.