The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has caused the arrest of four of its examiners who were careless with the scripts of candidates they were marking, leading to the circulation of some of the scripts and scores on social media.
The suspects, who are currently assisting the police with investigations, were traced to have allowed papers they were marking to be videoed, snapshot, and circulated on social media where the marks of the candidates were displayed together with the index numbers and centre codes.
The examiners were picked up at Adukrom, Cape Coast, Kasoa and Accra, where they were marking the papers.
The examination body condemned the act and called on all examiners to be diligent and protect the personal data of the candidates being entrusted to them as the law frowned on making them public without authority.
Briefing the Daily Graphic, the Head of the Public Relations of WAEC, Mrs Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, explained that before the examiners were considered, it was made clear to them that “the attendance mark sheets, scripts and marking schemes are at every stage security materials and must be treated as such.”
She added that as part of the engagement, “the scripts, marking schemes and attendance mark sheets should be kept under lock and key anytime an examiner is not working on them.”
Mrs Teye-Cudjoe said such incidence should not happen at all and so even though few, “we do not take kindly to that and wish to caution the examiners not to divulge information of candidates as contained in the letter engaging them as examiners.”
She reminded them that whatever was in their possession was confidential and should not be left at the disposal of their family members, describing it as unacceptable and unfortunate.
Mrs Teye-Cudjoe said during the briefing before the commencement of the marking, “we told them that they should not allow even their wards to total the marks of the candidates.”
She explained that because the index numbers and centre codes were in the snapshots and the video, it was easier for WAEC to trace to the origin of the shots, “and that is how we were able to trace them.”
Mrs Teye-Cudjoe explained that the examiners expressed surprise at what had happened because they did not know what happened and through investigations, it was realised that in some cases, the shots were taken by a grandchild or a nephew-in-law.
Mrs Teye-Cudjoe cautioned examiners to respect the terms of engagement and not to be careless with scripts entrusted to them, reminding them that first step under the current situation, all those examiners had been blacklisted and the scripts withdrawn from them.
She explained that the WAEC was able to identify them based on its post examination monitoring, adding that the council was alarmed at the current development.
Adding his voice, the Head of Legal of WAEC, Rev. Victor Brew, said those examiners would be handed over to the police to be charged appropriately and prosecuted under the Data Protection Act and with the WAEC internal rules and regulations in terms of guiding of the examination and marking rules.
He expressed concern that the current situation had made operators of the rogue website deceive students into thinking that they could change their marks for them, adding that “this is the extent to which some people are ready to go to impress others.”