So far, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has protected its integrity as a sub-regional academic testing body. And why not?
To be able to have its certificates command a worldwide reverence and appeal, the examinations body must be able to stem malpractices which can tarnish is integrity; criminalities such as impersonations, cheating, stealing and selling of examination papers, among other morality blemishes, must not be condoned regardless of their sources.
Having been in existence for several decades, WAEC should continue on this tangent of protecting its image and cracking the whip on both adult and young cheats.
At the onset of the ongoing WASSCE in the country, we were ready to bet our last penny that considering the previous acts of deterrence taken by the examination body against cheats, including cancellations of papers, this year’s chapter would be devoid of cheatings.
Hints by WAEC that some cheatings were going on have now taken the form of evidence-based announcement that 23 fake candidates have been nabbed.
This is not a story to warrant the clapping of hands because it goes to show that we still have not learnt our lessons. It also shows, unfortunately, that the end of examination hall cheatings is far from over. They would remain with us just like other criminalities.
What WAEC should do is to continue to watch the examination process with eagle-eyes and to even leverage on technology to enhance this role. Such an order will make nonsense of the attempts to cheat when after all, WAEC will catch the examination thieves.
The schools associated with the examination thievery should besides naming them in the media, be humiliated so they would not return to the bad ways again.
The outcome of police investigations and the legal action taken against the defaulters should be made public. This would go a long way in stemming examination thievery.
The modus operandi of the cheats would only emerge when the details of the investigations are out. Being parts of syndicates breaking the backbone of these can only be achieved when their modus operandi and the nature of their networks are exposed without inhibitions.
We shudder to think that adults will introduce children to such criminal acts. What will become of children who are obsessed with examination cheating in their academic pursuits? Of course, their poor background would impact negatively in their output in the various fields they find themselves in. Thankfully though, WAEC is able to catch them before they reach such levels.