Mr Kofi Ashiboe-Mensah, the Country Director of Exams Ethics International, Ghana, has sounded alarm for a quick and thorough tackling of the propensity among Ghanaians to cheat in examinations before that phenomenon disintegrates scholarship evaluation systems.
He said cheating in examinations was slowly but effectively devaluing certificates issued by institutions in the country.
Mr Ashiboe-Mensah was addressing a workshop in Ho on Tuesday on the theme Exam Ethics; a Pre-Requisite for Competent Human Resource Development attended by school heads and educators in the Volta Region.
He listed impersonation, copying, collusion, fore-knowledge of questions and sneaking foreign materials into examination halls as some of the malpractices.
The culprits, Mr Ashiboe-Mensah, said include administrators, parents, drivers, police/security officers, teachers and lecturers, who engage in the business of “selling examination questions at high cost”.
He said the severity of the problem was recently underscored by the arrest of 35 people for involvement in examination malpractices during mature students’ exams for entry into the University of Ghana.
Mr Ashiboe-Mensah said the inability of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to accept Junior High School continuous assessment scores for incorporation into the final examination scores underscored the problem.
He said action was needed now as “inaction on the part of stakeholders will be a direct reflection of the kind of people we produce and engage in the workplace…”
Mr Ashiboe-Mensah expressed dismay at the refusal of organizations, including WAEC, to associate with the crusade to eliminate exams malpractices launched by a Nigerian, Ike Onyechere in 1996, after his brother, confessed travelling across state borders to write exams for somebody for a fee.
He called for the establishment of Exams Ethics Clubs in schools and also the institution a corps of examination invigilators and supervisors, with membership cutting across professional groups.
Dr Victor Jakpasu Afun, Rector of the Ho Polytechnic, said the tendency to “throw the ethics out of the window so as to gain advantage over others is the beginning of decaying academic standards in our system”.
Togbega Adzongaga Fiti V, Paramount Chief of the Aflao Traditional Area, promised to co-opt the chiefs, through the Volta Regional House of Chiefs, into the crusade.
Mr Linus Cofie Attey, Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) Volta Regional Secretary, expressed worry that “our examinations are tending to promote cognitive ability at the expense of affective and psychomotor skill, leading to unemployment and social deviance”.
His position was corroborated by Frank Agbo, a psychology tutor at the Ho Nursing College, saying the system was losing the ability to evaluate abilities and performance and had thus resorted to deifying certificates.
He said this had resulted in a scramble by Ghanaians for strings of degrees, which hardly reflects in efficiency.
Mr Kofi Gbedemah, a Social Worker, said exams ethics was a bedfellow of integrity, levels of which was dwindling in Ghana.