he West African Examination Council has said that none of its question papers for the ongoing West African Senior School Certificate Examination leaked as previously reported.
WAEC, in a statement issued on Monday and made available to our correspondent, claimed that its monitoring and investigation of the examination showed that certain school principals, invigilators and supervisors, as well as candidates, who smuggled mobile phones and other electronic devices into the examination halls, had snapped the question papers after the examination commenced and forwarded same to their collaborators.
The examination body also indicated that the collaborators in turn provided the answers to the questions and sent them to their subscribers via rogue websites, text messages, WhatsApp and other social media platforms.
Arguing that no case of leakage had been established since the current WASSCE began, it said, “Leakage can be said to have occurred when the question papers get into the hands of individuals who are not supposed to have them before the time scheduled on the timetable.”
The council added that during investigation it was discovered that the question papers for past examinations were photo-shopped by fraudsters to scam gullible candidates who patronised their illicit websites and WhatsApp platforms.
For this reason, it added, certain measures were taken to ensure that the question papers did not find their way out of the examination hall and that solutions did not get to the subscribing candidates in the examination hall.
The statement listed the steps taken by the council to prevent malpractice during the examination as including thorough searches on the candidates before they entered the examination halls; disallowing supervisors and invigilators from taking their mobile phones and other electronic devices into the halls; briefing of principals on their liability, should any of their candidates be caught with mobile phones or other electronic devices in the examination halls; cancellation of entire results of candidates who brought mobile phones and other electronic devices into the halls.
In the statement, WAEC also noted that an effective solution to the menace of rogue websites could either be the jamming of mobile networks within a specified radius in and around the examination halls or the shutting down of the Internet throughout the country during the period of the examination, as practised in some countries. But it added that such a measure was beyond its powers.
The statement read in part, “It is worthy of note that the council 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.
“Furthermore, the council is willing to collaborate with well-meaning Nigerians, civil society groups, corporate organisations that are ICT inclined, telecommunication companies, state ministries of education, banks, relevant security agencies, the media and other stakeholders to neutralise the threat being posed by examination malpractice to education in Nigeria.
“Once again, the council wishes to reiterate that the integrity of the ongoing WASSCE has not been compromised as no single case of leakage or foreknowledge has been established.
“We want to assure the general public that the activities of the rogue websites and fraudulent WhatsApp platforms that peddle solved answers for a fee would not affect the integrity of the ongoing examination.”