The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) says it has arrested some supervisors and candidates who tried to undermine the integrity of its ongoing West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
The council’s Head, National Office (HNO), Mr Olu Adenipekun, made the disclosure in an interview on Monday in Lagos.
The May/June WASSCE began on Monday, April 8 nationwide and in all the member-countries.
According to Adenipekun, the conduct of the examination, expected to be concluded this week, had been smooth.
“I just want to report that quite a number of candidates has been arrested, including some supervisors in different parts of the country, during the conduct of this examination.
“For the candidates, I may not be able to give you the number now but that of the supervisors, it is four or five,” the HNO added.
He said that the candidates involved smuggled their telephones into the examination hall and attempted to use them to take pictures of some of the pages of the question papers to post on their Whatsapp platforms.
“This was for their collaborators outside to provide answers to the questions and then return same to them via the same platform.
“We also had supervisors, about four or five of them, who also got involved in this kind of examination malpractice.
“They got to their various schools, opened the bag containing the question papers, and the first thing they did before distributing the papers to candidates was to use their telephones to snap pages of these question papers and equally post to their mercenaries outside,’’ he said.
According to him, if a paper is supposed to start by 9.30 a.m. for instance, and by that same time, someone has posted it on social media, the council will have no choice than to query the supervisors.
“Unfortunately for them all, we already have a tracking system that allows us to detect this malpractice very quickly.
“For instance, right here in Lagos, I can easily tell my officers on the field that a certain candidate in a certain school at a certain centre has just posted pages of the question papers on Whatsapp at a particular time. So, please go there and pick him or her up.
“This has yielded a lot of results because, as we all know, this is a technological fraud.
“The best way to fight it is also to deploy technology which has been of tremendous success in tracking and monitoring during the course of the conduct of our examination,’’ he said.
Adenipekun said the council’s mechanism could easily centrally track, monitor, detect and nip in the bud, from his office in Lagos, almost instantaneously, any form of sharp practices as soon as it is carried out anywhere within Nigeria.
The WAEC boss revealed that plans to introduce the device to checkmate examination malpractice got the approval of the inspector-general of police before its deployment.
According to him, this is necessary because of the implications, as it is applicable not just to Nigeria alone, but to other WAEC member country, where the examination is taken.
“Since the technology is not limited to Nigeria alone, the police boss agreed that it should be handled centrally.
“For those who have been arrested so far, their cases are being investigated in a bid to get more information and know their collaborators.
“We are also working at ensuring that such collaborators are arrested, interrogated and possibly prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others who may want to get involved in such act in the future,’’ the HNO said.
Adenipekun said that security challenge was surmounted by collaborations with various stakeholders, especially with support from the Nigeria Police.
“We also collaborated with traditional rulers across the country and ministries of education, and I am happy to report that this 2019 WASSCE which started eight weeks ago to be concluded this week, has been hitch-free.
Adenipekun lauded the efforts and commitment of the council’s staff in ensuring the successful conduct of the examination.
“As a matter of fact, we too policed ourselves very closely, even as WAEC staff.
“We monitored ourselves very closely by setting up layers of monitoring within the system; by so doing, we have not had any report, nor any incident of a staff being arrested on account of involvement in examination malpractice.
“I am very proud to say that we have a motivated workforce, one that is committed to upholding the integrity of the council’s examinations,’’ Adenipekun said.