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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Akpo Shakespeare writes: WAEC is cheating Teachers

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It is an incontrovertible fact that a country that does not value knowledge cannot develop. And one group of people who constitute the bulk of this country’s intelligentsia is teachers. Consequently, the trivialization of the quintessential role played by teachers in efforts being made to leapfrog our country’s advancement is fuelling developmental stagnation. One notable institution which downplays or berates teachers’ role in their daily operations is West African Examination Council.

Teachers play a vital role in the smooth conduct of WAEC’s examinations especially Basic Education Certificate Examinations and West African Senior School Certificate Examinations. However, teachers are not accorded the needed deference and paid commensurate compensation for the indispensable roles they play throughout the conduct of WAEC examinations.

Firstly, teachers are not adequately rewarded for the efforts they exert during invigilation and ensuring the sanctity of the examinations. They will be given a 14 cedi peanut after one year as invigilation allowances during this year’s WASSCE. In this modern era, WAEC employs intellectuals with degrees and Masters degrees and pay them a paltry GHC14.00 the entire day. This allowance cannot even pay lorry fares from their residences to the various campuses.

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Teachers feed, commute and risk their lives protecting the sanctity of the assessment process against the hostile treats of violent students who view them as enemies. Yet, to add salt to injury, WAEC treats teachers as criminals should there be a minutest contravention of the rules and regulations governing the conduct of the examinations by teachers. Is teaching profession a curse?

In the second place, teachers are given meagre allowances. How can teachers with graduate and post-graduate degrees be paid less than GHC3.50 for marking a written aspect of a subject’s paper in the WASSCE. Apart from English which cost GH4.20, all other subjects’ examiners are given exiguous amount of less than GH C3.50 as marking allowance. This is woefully inadequate and unacceptable. Teachers must not accept this scanty amount of money this year.

Teachers should not accept anything less than GH.C10.00 per subject in this year’s WASSCE marking. As for BECE allowance, it is ridiculously scanty that mentioning it here will evoke endless derisive mirth. It is about time teachers sent strong signals to WAEC that they (teachers) have been cheated for far too long. Teachers deserve to be paid commensurably for their efforts, expertise and academic acumen they exhibit throughout the entire marking process.

Knowledge is a priceless commodity. Teachers merit higher stipends for the knowledge they radiate and display in marking scripts of candidates and WAEC must act urgently now to forestall further agitations.

Moreover, WAEC officials do not appreciate teachers’ worth and efforts as expected. When teachers who are examiners and assistant examiners congregate at WAEC halls and offices for coordination and marking, they are treated as nonentities by WAEC officials. Can you imagine?

Teachers holding higher degrees and post-graduate degrees are treated with disdain and disrespect by WAEC officials who sometimes cannot even string words together to construct meaningful sentences. Sometimes, teachers cannot fathom the kind of training in terms of effective client communication given to these WAEC employees. These workers speak to teachers anyhow as if the latter depended on them for their quotidian bread.

It is very egregious that because of the meagre allowances offered to teachers after painstakingly marking scripts, WAEC treats its invaluable stakeholders- examiners and assistant examiners with scorn and disrepute. This must not continue in a 21st century pedagogical profession. Teachers have evolved out of the murky waters of the days when they were cowered into submission and dormancy. It is time the teaching fraternity began to assert their worth and valorize their intellectual capital. Teachers must begin to reconsider marking in terms of its monetary benefits and advise themselves accordingly.

More importantly, teachers should devise alternative viable and lucrative means of making money to supplement their remunerations rather than clinging to WAEC markings. As a teacher, you can drive a taxi, set up a business, do extra classes, write books and sell, establish a consultancy firm or engage in artisanal enterprises such as mobile phone repairs to enrich yourself and spurn WAEC marking. Do you remember the President’s recent advisory insult to teachers? Teachers are intellectual professionals and therefore deserve dignity, veneration and proportionate pecuniary compensation for their work done. Thus, teachers must boycott this year’s marking if WAEC refuses to increase astronomically the marking allowances. The time to act is now. Presently, the leadership of GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT are monumental failures so, teachers must take their destiny into their own hands.

In conclusion, the crux of my argument is that WAEC should begin to initiate measures to ameliorate the marking and invigilation allowances of teachers. The hardworking teachers of this country have been cheated for far too long. Eventually, teachers should boycott this year’s WASSCE and BECE markings should WAEC obstinately refuse to increase their allowances. It is incumbent on teachers to strike while the iron is hot.

WRITTEN BY: Akpo Shakespeare

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