Students found to have cheated in an examination should be compelled to retake the particular paper, President of Ashesi University, Patrick Awuah Jr, has proposed.
His comments follow widespread cheating by some candidate at the ongoing West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
“If you cheat on the exam, you should fail the paper and be required to take it again. There should be no ifs and buts about it,” the educationist stated emphatically.
Some students openly stated that they were allowed to copy from each other by school authorities during the examination, drawing condemnation from the founder of Ashesi.
He was concerned that examination malpractice had permeated elementary education.
For him, Ghana has “a problem which starts at the basic school level” with “a lot of cheating happening in the Basic Education Certificate Examination”.
He was concerned about the high stakes placed on the BECE where the education trajectory of those who fail gets truncated “, and you can’t go on to the next level”.
Ethics and integrity
He wants a focus on ethics, integrity and honesty at all levels of education as he questioned the kind of training given teachers and the volume on moral content.
“I have had students who told me that when they were in Junior High School, the teachers encouraged them to cheat in the BECE and the teachers helped them to cheat in the BECE,” he lamented on Asaase Radio’s personality profile programme, Sunday Night.
He said integrity is an essential value at Ashesi and the university orients students to understand that cheating in school is similar to corruption in public office.
With an honest system implemented at Ashesi, students take exams without invigilation.
At Ashesi, when you are found to have cheated in examinations, you fail the course automatically, and a second offence will lead to the student being expelled.
If it is an assignment, the students will lose significant marks.
Mr Awuah is advocating a similar system in public schools as he highlighted that “we give people a second chance” but firmly implement sanctions.
Assault on invigilators
One of the major concerns of the exams was an assault on an invigilator, who was ensuring that there were no examination malpractices.
Final year students of Bright Senior High School in Akyem Kukurantum in the Eastern Region assaulted an official from the West African Examination Council and a journalist from the Graphic Newspaper.
According to the students, they are against the deployment of external invigilators supervising the examination.
Mr Awuah explained that a similar incident at Ashesi would lead to the students being expelled.
“First of all, they will be expelled from the institution because it is stated in our rule book that it is not allowed,” he said.
“There should be sanctions, and no one should feel that they have the right to inflict pain on another person, whether an invigilator or not”.
He added that assault is a criminal offence, and the victim could press charges which could lead to prosecution, putting the future of the student in jeopardy.