WAEC defends N250,000 fine for exam malpractice

Despite the penalty measures put in place by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to curb examination malpractice in the country, more schools are still engaging in the act.

The recent outcry by the Kwara State government on the N30.5m fine it received from WAEC shows how societal ills could rob the state off its lean resources. Recall that WAEC had blacklisted about 165 schools in Kwara State for their alleged involvement in examination malpractices in 2019 WAEC. The schools were not only fined N250,000 each, they were also prohibited from conducting examination until after two years.

The governor of the state, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, who vowed to sanction any parent, school authority or individual indicted for the act in the future, lamented that his administration would have to pay N30.5million to get the 165 public schools derecognised by WAEC registered again. Out of the affected schools, 122 are public secondary schools and 43 are private schools.

Confirming the incident, WAEC spokesman, Mr. Demian Ojijeogu, expressed worries that despite the stiff penalties, more schools are still engaging in the act. “It is not only Kwara State, so many schools across the country were affected. If a school is decrecognised by WAEC, they will not be allowed to conduct examination for two years. After the penalty, they will pay a fine of N250,000.”

Reacting to the claim that the N250,000 is too high, Ojijeogu said, “It is expected that when schools think of the consequences, they will not engage in such act. It is meant to dissuade people from getting involved in such act. Those schools actually run rackets, they organise and collect money from candidates and give them special treatment. WAEC is charging N13,950, for its form. But they will add other things, administrative cost to make it N15,000 or N20,000, which is still okay. But these schools go as far as charging N50 to N200,000, so as to get machineries to come and sit and write the exam for their students, assuring them of 9A1s.

“So the fine is a kind of deterrent. It is big enough to deter schools from engaging in examination malpractice, unfortunately, it doesn’t deter them. A lot of schools all over the country were caught in the act. Some proprietors were blacklisted; some candidates have been barred from writing exam for two years, so they can’t even register for the exam this year.”

Noting that the penalties differ from school to school and from individual to individual, he explained that while some students have some of their subjects cancelled, others have all their results cancelled.He further noted that it is the Nigeria Examinations Committee (NEC) that decides every issue related to sanctions and penalties. “They are the highest decision making of the council on exam related matters. The chairman and the members are not WAEC staff. So, we present results of candidates indicted for examination malpractice with evidences gathered from the fields and the marking venues, they will now scrutinise and decide. And whatever they decide, we are obligated to comply.”

On where the fine goes into and whether the council considers it as a major source of its revenue generation, Ojijeogu said, “It goes into WAEC account and it is not an IGR for WAEC. It can’t be an IGR. Can that amount N30.5m buy a scanner for e-marking?”

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