In the past week or two, the West Africa Examinations Council sat in a conference here in The Gambia. During this conference, Mr Baboucar Bouy was appointed as the Chairman of the WAEC zone. This is an honour for the Gambia and clearly engenders a lot of opportunities and hope for the Gambia.
There is no doubt that the past few years have been very difficult for students in the Gambia, and perhaps other countries in the WAEC zone as well. Majority of the students who have been writing the West Africa Examinations Council’s external examination end up failing woefully. This has become a threat to our education system and by extension, an issue of national security.
Obviously, measures should be taken to arrest this situation. The way and manner of conducting examinations should be investigated so that measures to reduce the rate of failure will be devised. Perhaps we should even look into the relationship that should exist between our curriculum and our development aspirations. The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education should therefore work with WAEC (that should be easier and more productive now that we have a Gambian as the Chairman) to come up with a syllabus that is relevant to our needs.
Another serious cause for concern is the fact that in the past few years, we have been having serious problems of examination malpractice. This is being aided by the fact that many a time, the question papers leak before the exam. This happens on social media and students see both questions and answers before they enter the exam hall. This is very bad for the country on many fronts.
One consequence of this is that it injects the students with academic dishonesty which can bud into corruption and other evil practices. The other consequence is that it will make students lazy as they will see that they can achieve things without making any efforts. With that attitude, the country’s development will be put at serious risk.
One suggestion that could be introduced which will improve our education system and minimize the possibility of students engaging in examination malpractice or cheating is computer-based examinations. The government in collaboration with the West Africa Examinations Council could work together to introduce this very useful method in our school system. It is not very expensive or difficult to use this method and do away with paper-based exams. This will be of great benefit to the nation considering that the world is moving digital now. We should not be left behind in the digital migration of knowledge.
My opinion is that the Gambia should take advantage of having a Gambian as the Chairman of WAEC and promote our country’s agenda. This will give us the opportunity to put forwards ideas, plans and initiatives that will boast our development agenda.
Have a Good Day Mr President…
Tha Scribbler BSah
A Concerned Citizen