*But Warns Candidates Against Exam Malpractices
By Christopher Ambe
Officials of the Cameroon GCE Board have said all is now set for the smooth take-off of this year’s certificate examinations the body runs. But they have strongly warned against exam malpractices, noting that a network has been put in place to root out any form of malpractices and get perpetrators prosecuted.
Sir Humphrey Ekema Monono,GCE Board Registrar and Denis Mofor, Deputy Registrar In Charge of Examinations who had an exclusively joint conversation with The Recorder in Buea, last Wednesday April 30, confirmed that, the exams will start on May 6 with the practicals and run through the month, then followed shortly by the written part.
This year’s exam session has been placed under the watch words of “Vigilance, Responsibility and Citizenship.”
A total of 164,789 testees are expected to sit for all exams the GCE board runs, which include GCE General and GCE Technical in both the ordinary and advanced levels. This gives an absolute difference of 9,876 this year compared to number of candidates in 2013 and a percentage increase of 6.9, the Board officials revealed.
Following is the breakdown of this year’s candidates: Ordinary Level-96,056 candidates; Advanced Level GCE general -47068 candidates;GCE Technical O-Level-8012;GCE Technical A-level-4801candidates;BAC Technique-1745;Bevet de tecniciens-1252;probatoire technic-3637;Probatoire de BT-2218.
Indeed, 6918 examiners have been shortlisted for the exams, to be supervised by 447 subject officials.
Talking about the state of preparation, the Registrar said: “These are very trying moments for both the GCE Board and the candidates. All of us are tense-the Board is fighting tooth and nail to get materials ready for the exams; the students-going through their last minute notes to ensure that they give their parents including the public the results they expect…
“However, the Board is sailing smoothly on, preparing hard and fast to make sure we don’t leave out any details of what is expected of us.”
Sir Monono assured the clientele (parents, students and the public in general that “the Board is prepared and ready for the exams”, particularly wishing the candidates good luck.
On attitude expected of GCE testees and even the public, Sir Monono said: “There are so many Do’s and Don’ts. For now, candidates should not think that the exams are coming from the moon. It is coming from their teachers and from the syllabuses prescribed by the GCE. So, their concentration should be a combination of efforts between teachers and students, and the schools. Don’t write the exam for somebody-that is a malpractice; don’t get to the exams with pre-prepared material (either a ruler, computerized wrist watch; electronic gadgets-for if they are seized you may be forfeiting your own life development-because you may be banned for up to three years. Those are the types of attitude we condemn.
“Let your teacher not step in and do the exam for you. I hear, if you touch your nose it means it is an A; your mouth, it is some other character for the multiple choice; your C is your ear. I don’t know; your eye is something else. Those are don’ts. Collusion is not allowed. Cheating is punishable. Some testees spend time putting facts on their palms or laps or shirts. Those are attitudes we strongly condemn.
“Parents should make sure they care for the health and wealth of their protégés; give them enough support and attention-psychological and otherwise, so that they face this life’s challenge with ease. It is a choice we are making just as you have multiple choice. So if you know that you are not ready for the exams, don’t come and disturb others.”
The Registrar called for collective responsibility, noting that the rules and regulations are clear. “If you miss them, you are in trouble with yourself, not the Board or Mr.Monono; you are in trouble with the public, which will mete its justice on you”, he warned testees.
Buttressing the Registrar, Mr. Mofor who is Deputy Registrar in charge of Exams, strongly warned against what he called the common practice in Buea, Bamenda and Yaoundé where university students are paid to write the GCE for others. “We have set up a strong network for that and no fraudster will go free,” he stressed, calling for cooperation from the public.
The Exam officials said the Board is doing its very best to ensure that certificates are error-free. “Even when we publish the result and give them the result slips, we give candidates four months to check and report any changes for correction”, said Mr. Mofor, who regretted that “some don’t check, and once we print the certificates we cannot change”
Still on the Board’s efforts to minimize errors on certificates, Sir Monono added:
“There are four stages of correction. During registration, the candidate reads documents with the registering officer, obtains a time table; secondly we send the G2 back to the field for verification. I want to inform you that tons of those G2’s we sent out have come back without the candidates themselves appending their signatures certifying that their entries are correct. Lots of them have come back with few signatures.
“On a school of about 400 candidates only about four have signed that the information is correct, which is a big problem. If they don’t correct at that stage, during the written phase, there is a form call GT14 where the invigilators/superintendents can still tell the Board that, ‘there is a mistake on this candidate’s date of birth or name’ for it to be corrected.
“Before we produce the certificates, we still go on the air, and so after we have done the certificate-I mean it is clear, this is legal tender, you don’t change it at the whims and caprices of individuals. It becomes a public commodity and should be defended as a purely legal document.”
On how fast a candidate can obtain his certificate from the Board, Sir Monono said: “Certificates are given and we say that three months after you receive your slip, it becomes invalid. If you imagine that results are produced in August, in December certificates should be there; so candidates should know that by that time certificates are ready. If we have difficulties, it should not take up to a year to get one’s certificate.
Talking about missing certificates, the Registrar said:“If you have your certificate damaged or you misplace it, you are free to ask for a duplicate so far as you obtain an attestation of loss, justifying that, that certificate is missing or damaged at a cost of 50,000FCFA.We don’t change certificates or do duplicates because of wrong dates of birth or wrong spellings of names”
Appreciating the quality of certificates awarded by the Board, Sir Monono noted: “Our certificates are respected because they are hard-earned and the exam procedures follow international norms -from item preparation to testing and marking. The exams are marked by very qualified and competent teachers, overseen by academic dons of the universities…our certificates are valid legal tender. ‘They are worth their weight in gold.’ The certificate is valid in and out of Cameroon...”
The Board executives concluded their conversation with The Recorder by giving the assurance that, all necessary arrangements have be made to ensure that marking dues and out-of station allowances will be paid in keeping with the means available.