By Samson Folarin for PUNCH.
While some youths sweat and rack their brains for answers to questions at the ongoing West African Senior School Certificate Examination, others have perfected the art of getting cheap grades through some websites which obtain questions before the start of exams.
An investigation by PUNCH Metro revealed this on Tuesday.
Our correspondent had pretended to be a candidate sitting for the WASSCE being administered by the West African Examination Council.
He subscribed for answers to Commerce (Objective and Theory) from five of the result-peddling websites – naijaclass.com, examcrown.com, examsort.com, waecexpo.com and guruslodge.com.
While naijaclass, examcrown, examsort and waecexpo demanded N400 MTN recharge cards to send a link to the answers of the exam and N800 for direct answers to phones, guruslodge demanded N800 to send the answers directly to candidates’ phones.
Candidates were, however, urged on the websites to make subscriptions for all the papers and pay into certain account numbers provided on their websites in order to get discounts.
Provisions were made for “Very Important Persons.”
There were alleged testimonies of some candidates who had passed their exams after using the services of the websites.
They also displayed excellent WASSCE results of some candidates, whose names were deliberately blurred to conceal their identities.
After PUNCH Metro sent recharge cards to designated phone numbers on Monday, the operators of the websites, after some hours, sent confirmation texts.
Before Tuesday, the date of the exam, the operators had started sending links to the answer websites through text messages.
They said the answers would be uploaded on the sites.
By past 1pm on Tuesday, some of the websites said they had got the questions and were solving them.
They supplied our correspondent with Personal Identification Numbers with which to access the sites.
By 2.07pm, answers to the theory questions started streaming in, and in less than 45 minutes, the theory and objective answers had been supplied.
While guruslodge sent all its answers through text messages, others sent links based on the subscription of our correspondent.
Our correspondent, while trying to verify the answers to the theory questions at the end of the exam at 5pm, learnt that WASSCE candidates submitted the question papers with their answer sheets.
PUNCH Metro, however, contacted two candidates who wrote the exam to ascertain the questions asked by the examiners.
Candidate A, who wrote the exam in a public school in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State, recalled answering questions bordering on division of labour, contract, reasons for consumer protection, second tier security market, calculation of working capital, among others.
Candidate B, another public school pupil, who wrote his exam in the Somolu area of Lagos, gave a similar highlight.
He said, “We had eight questions and we were asked to answer five. Some of the questions are: State three disadvantages and five advantages of division of labour? State the differences between public enterprises and public company? What is contract? Calculate the account of…”
A look at the answers provided by the websites showed they had the questions correctly.
For instance, examsort answered the questions on second tier market, which it claimed was the 6th question on the paper. It also defined contract.
Examcrown highlighted the reasons for consumer protection, which it said was question number 7.
The others also addressed the questions stated by the pupils.
However, a look at the objective questions showed that the website operators had conflicting answers.
Naijaclass: 1-10 DCBABDDBBB; 11-20 ABDBDCCCD; 21-30 BACCABABBC; 31-40ABCADDDADA; 41-50 CCBBCAAABB.
Examcrown: 1-10 DCBCCADBBB; 11-20 ACDADBDAAD; 21-30 BABCDAAABC; 31-40; ABABDBCADA; 41-50: CCBBBAACAB.
Examsort: DBBCCB DBBBABDADBDD DBACDBDDCADACCBB DABCAC.
Guruslodge:DCBAB DDBBBA BDBDCCCCDA B CADDDADAABCADD
A teacher, who did not want to be identified, said he was shocked to discover such services were freely advertised on the Internet.
He expressed disgust while recounting how he came by the websites.
He said, “I was telling my younger brother of how I heard of a certain science teacher in my locality who went online to get answers to Physics practical experiments last year, instead of conducting the experiments with his pupils; and they all failed when the results came out.
“My brother remarked, ‘He didn’t get his answers from the right site.’ He further enlightened me on several sites on the Internet where by sending recharge cards of N400, pupils can have access to questions and answers of the exams they were writing in real-time.
“These sites always have all the exam papers, probably a day or two before the exams. And they have the solutions too. There are many of them advertising and competing for patronage like legitimate business. On these sites are the testimonies of Nigerian students. I saw the testimony of a student on examcrown.com who got 7 A1s and a B3 after using their service.
“I went to one of such sites and in front of me were solutions to the Physics exam that pupils were sweating in the hall on. The solutions online were posted on the 19th of April, a day before the exam.
“Students typically have access to the solutions a few minutes to the commencement of the exams, of course to make maximum sales, as PINs could be shared if the answers were released earlier. Several of these pupils still need the cooperation of invigilators and their schools to use their phones in the exam halls to access the answers, while others take advantage of large examination centres to do their thing surreptitiously. It breaks my heart as a teacher.”
He noted that answers to the National Examination Council’s questions were usually online two days before the exam, as some of the websites gave pupils NECO answers free.
He lamented that the situation had affected the standard of education in the country.
“So, we have pupils getting eight distinctions now and 300 in UTME, yet having no substance in their heads. These ones will gain admissions into university and block the chances of good students who legitimately got their five credits and 220 in UTME. My John James could not gain admission with a score of over 260 in UTME last year. Godstime is a great student, but he will be lucky to gain admission with the 280 he scored this year.
“Why are we so messed up as a country? Who are these Nigerians who are destroying this system for pecuniary gains? Aren’t they the same Nigerians who complain daily of the state of this country? Aren’t they the youth who should be the future of this country? The same young people who cry daily of how our father’s generation failed us?
“The rot in education is particularly sad because it has ripple effects, spreading across all sectors. Imagine students using these sites to get eight distinctions and 330 so they can go study medicine and surgery to become doctors. Imagine them wanting to become engineers, scientists, lawyers, etc. They will most likely have to oil their way through school and come out deficient in whatever fields they find themselves in…even with great results. Are our exam bodies aware of these sites?” he added.
The spokesperson for WAEC, Demianus Ojijeogu, said the exam body was aware of the website operators, adding that their activities were a sad comment on education in Nigeria.
He said, “It did not start today. We have been following up on it for a while now. Our investigations have, however, shown that sometimes they recycle old questions or supply fake questions. And even if they are correct, it is after the examinations have commenced. We have asked the supervisors to be our eyes.
“The supervisors are not our workers; they are supplied by the ministry of education. We have asked them to help us and prevent the students from entering exam halls with mobile phones. We have also upgraded our security facilities and we are deploying technologies as well.
“This situation is not peculiar to just WASSCE, other examinations are affected as well and it is sad for education in Nigeria. It is sad because it means if I can just sit down and someone will supply the answers to me, why then do I need to read?
“Our manpower has been overstretched. We have some of our workers working on day and night shifts. We are working round-the-clock and we urge the cooperation of other stakeholders to stop this ugly trend.”