The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Ghana has conducted the first Licensing Examination for student nurses and midwives using Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
The four-year project, which was initiated in collaboration with CINOP Global and Advisory Services, a consortium from the Netherlands, aims at strengthening the capacity of the Council to conduct a licensing examination through the use of advanced ICT solutions.
The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, supporting the project through its capacity building programme, ‘NICHE of NUFFIC’ has since 2014 awarded a total grant of €1,067,250 as funding for two separate projects in the area of nursing and midwifery.
The projects are Capacity Building of Senior Staff on Strategic Management and Leadership Skills, and Strengthening the Capacity of the Council to conduct online licensing examinations for nurses and midwives.
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu who toured one of the examination centres; the Council’s Head Office in Accra while the examination was ongoing, noted that the first project was implemented in 2014/15 while the second was launched on November 1, 2016.
He said the online examination would ensure that the conduct of licensing Examination was more efficient, effective and credible.
“With the implantation of the online licensing examination for nursing and midwifery trainees, Ghana becomes the first in West Africa to conduct licensing exams online,” he said.
The Minister explained that the examination was in three components – multiple questions, where questions are randomised so that no candidate will have the same questions in the same order; the practical where rating by examiners are done using tablets uploaded with electronic tools, and viva voce where examiners upload with electronic tools while rating.
He disclosed that the examination was introduced in phases beginning with the Registered Mental Health Nursing candidates in September, this year, which will be followed by registered community nursing candidates in 2019.
Mr Agyemang Manu said the examination would also be conducted for registered midwifery students in 2020, registered general nursing students in 2021 and registered nurse assistant, clinical and preventive, in 2022.
“Since the exams are set online, answered online, have questions numbered differently for each student, and marked online, that means cheating at the exams hall will not be possible,” he said.
Mr Agyemang Manu noted that the lengthy formalities and processes involved in creating question papers, registering candidates for examination, answer sheet evaluation and declaration of results would be minimised or eradicated with the online examination system.
“As per the Service Charter of the Council, it is required that licensing examination results are released within 70 working days of completion of the exams. With this new innovation, examination results are expected to be released within 20 working days of completion”, he said.
Mr Ron Strikker, the Netherlands High Commissioner to Ghana, in an interview with the media, noted that the project was funded the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs to increase the capacity of institutions in countries including Ghana.
He said the programme is also supporting projects in other parts of the country such as the Agricultural Training College in Kumasi to improve on their curricula.
He disclosed that the total amount used to fund such projects across the country was over €6,000,000 but about €1.2,000,000 was allocated to initiation of a developmental project in a city.
Mr Strikker said: “I think we should be all very proud because this is the first phenomenon for testing performance in West Africa”.
He expressed appreciation to all nurses and midwives across the country, who are helping to control health related problems and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal Three, which is good health and wellbeing for all.
Felix Nyante, the Registrar of the Council, told the Ghana News Agency that the Council received €992,250 on preparation towards the main examination on Monday while the online mock examinations held on July 26 and August 17, 2018 to offer the candidates a first-hand experience received a fund of €75,000.
“Those who qualify after the examination will be readily available for national service and service delivery for that matter.”
Mr Nyante said 374 registered nurses wrote the examination on Monday from the College of Health Sciences, Yendi with 12 candidates; the Nursing Training College, Pantang with 97 candidates; and the Nursing Training College, Ankaful, had 265 candidates.