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12 Teachers arrested over BECE malpractice

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Security persons of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), in collaboration with the National Security, have arrested 11 teachers and a head teacher over alleged malpractice in the 2021 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) which took off throughout the country yesterday.

The 12 were picked up at two examination centres in the Offinso municipality in the Ashanti Region and the Senase R/C Basic School in Berekum in the Bono Region.

Offences
A source at WAEC told the Daily Graphic in an interview that at the Offinso Methodist JHS examination centre, a teacher of the Offinso State ‘A’ Junior High School (JHS) was allegedly caught collecting money from the candidates while distributing the Social Studies answer booklets.

According to the source, when the teacher was questioned, she admitted collecting the money, but explained that the candidates decided to contribute the money to her for free.

However, WAEC officials believed that the money was meant to influence the invigilator to enable the candidates to indulge in examination malpractice.

In the second case, also in the Offinso municipality, nine teachers and a head teacher were arrested at the Dwamena Akenten M/A JHS examination centre after they were spotted desperately solving the objective part of the Social Studies paper in the morning.

The source further said at the Senase R/C Basic School centre, Ransford Osei, an invigilator, was apprehended for allegedly taking shots of the Social Studies paper, which was being written in the morning, and sending the snapshots to a friend to solve for him.

However, while Osei was being escorted by the police, he absconded.

Advice
Commenting on the development, the Head of the National Office of WAEC, Mrs Wendy Addy-Lamptey, assured the candidates that they could do well without resorting to malpractice, including cheating.

She advised the candidates to manage their time well to be able to answer all the questions, adding that they should also read the questions thoroughly before starting to answer.

While wishing the candidates the best of luck, Mrs Addy-Lamptey advised them to take enough rest “and not be anxious but focused and write what you know”.

She expressed concern over the fact that teachers engaged to invigilate or supervise the examination were rather engaged in malpractice and asked the candidates to reject offers from such invigilators because they could equally be wrong.

Smooth take-off
Meanwhile, the examination commenced smoothly at all centres across the country

In Accra, Joshua Bediako Koomson and Faith Ayorkor Mensah report that COVID-19 protocols were strictly observed at the various centres.
The Ayawaso West Municipal Director of Education, Madam Adisa Tassa, who toured some of the centres, presented 1,107 mathematical sets and 1,108 pens for onward distribution to the candidates.

The centres in the municipality are the Nima Cluster of Schools, the St Paul’s Lutheran School and the Flag Staff Basic School.

Madam Tassa said she was impressed by the conduct of the candidates.

Western Region
From the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, Dotsey Koblah Aklorbortu and Augustina Dzodzegbe report that 40,464 candidates from 1,195 schools in the Western Region are taking part in the examination.
When the Daily Graphic visited some of the centres, it saw that the candidates were in high spirits.

Officials of the Western Regional Education Directorate went round the centres to assess the situation and indicated that all was well.

The Regional Director of Education, Mrs Felicia Agyeibea Okai, wished the candidates well and urged them not to engage in examination malpractice.

The Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, in his message to the resource and Ghana has no shortage of smart and talented people,” he said.

Context
The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has been championing a digitalised economy since 2017.

The National Identification Authority (NIA), which is in charge of issuing the Ghana Card, is now moving to another stage where it is integrating the information with other systems.

Databases that have linked up with the NIA system include those of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Registrar-General’s Department, the Electoral Commission and the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).

The Controller and Accountant-General’s Department has asked workers paid from the Consolidated Fund to register for the Ghana Card.

Aside from the Ghana Card, the acquisition of passports and drivers licences has been semi-automated and there is a re-registration of SIM cards with the use of the Ghana Card.

The banking sector has experienced one of the most consummate forms of digitalisation, with the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GhIPPS) being the intermediary and facilitator for enabling interoperability among banking systems.

At a lecture on Digitalisation at the Ashesi University a couple of weeks ago, Vice-President Bawumia said the strategy had, since 2017, been not just to repair the “system” but build a new “system” through digital transformation.

“A system with unique identification numbers for the population, a system with addresses for all properties and locations, a system that is transparent and promotes accountability, discipline and trustworthiness and a system that is inclusive and not based on who you know,” Dr Bawumia had said.

He said the envisioned dream was also to create a system that provided efficient public service delivery and tackled corruption, a system that improved efficiency in the health sector and a system that provided financial inclusion and a cash-lite economy.

Foundational
Mr Binitie told the Daily Graphic in an interview that the next challenge was growing beyond the shores of the country.

He said he wanted Ghana to cash in on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which he said presented new opportunities for trade across the region.

“It is the time to grow beyond our walls if we want to be the power house of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Our perspective must be beyond Ghana, so every policy on innovation needs to also look at trade, so that what is created could be marketed beyond Ghana, and that must be policy driven,” he explained.

He noted that the richest countries in the world were not rich because they had natural resources but because they produced advanced technology that could easily be exported for significant monetary returns.

Decentralise digitalisation
For his part, Mr Kanduri said in countries where digitalisation had gained ground, it was not the government leading the drive, but that it rather provided the enabling environment and the policy framework that favoured young private individuals to lead the drive.

“If we don’t redirect the focus of the digitalisation drive and encourage young innovators to lead the drive, we will miss the real innovations that could bring about economic growth,” he said.

He called on the government to factor into its digitalisation drive a sense of decentralisation, so that the building of the digital infrastructure would be segmented into regions or districts, according to their pressing needs.

He said the adaptability of the interoperability infrastructure, for instance, was not the same across the country, as the need for it might be concentrated in more commercially viable areas than a rural farming community.

“The adaptability of the digital drive will not be the same across the country. Every district or region has its own demands and what digital solutions it requires and will have value for, so we have to look at this development from a decentralised point of view,” Mr Kanduri said.

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