The management of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) last week rolled out the drums to celebrate its 67thanniversary and also used the occasion to assure Nigerians of its continuous quality service delivery.
The event held at WAEC Yaba head office attracted some stakeholders in the education sector such as examiners, supervisors, schools, friends of the council and officials from Lagos State Ministry of Education.
The celebration featured goodwill message from Registrar of the council, Dr. Iyi Uwadiae. He said the 16th of March, designated WAEC Day, is a unique day for all staff and friends of WAEC in The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. It is a day set aside each year for members of WAEC family to commemorate the establishment of our flagship organisation in March 1952.
As we celebrate WAEC’s continued existence today, we give expression to our joy, pride and gratitude by engaging in various festive activities in all offices of the council across the sub-region.
According to him, activities of the council were successfully carried out in member countries and added that it conducted hitch-free and leakage international and national examinations across the sub-region.
He disclosed that 2,277,588 million candidates wrote the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in 2018 and that the figure comprised 1,976, 537 million school candidates and 301, 051 private candidates.
A country by country analysis of the 2018 WASSCE enrollment figure shows that The Gambia enrolled 17, 766 candidates (0.78 per cent), Ghana registered 450, 731 candidates (19.79 per cent), Nigeria presented 1, 691, 415 million candidates (74.26 per cent), Sierra Leone got 77, 521 candidates (3.40 per cent) while Liberia had 40, 155 candidates (1.76 per cent), the registrar revealed.
Uwadiae said the council continued to expand its consultancy services and demonstrate capacity for more functions and responsibilities in all its offices, stating some member governments created new examinations and assigned the conduct to the council.
The registrar explained that the council’s efforts at making inroads into the neighbouring francophone countries like Republic of Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mail paid off, as more schools and candidates in those countries were attracted to its examination.
Among the achievements enumerated by the registrar include completion of 15-year headquarters project and its occupation in December 2016, introduction of additional diets of WASSCE and BECE for private candidates, full migration to digital administration of examinations, paid attention to issue of exam leakage, deployment of technology in the council’s operations and activities, reduce the period for processing of the results of WASSCE for school candidates and improved staff welfare.
The Head of the Nigeria National Office of WAEC, Mr. Olutise Adenipekun, said the council, which is the last surviving regional organisation, was established during the colonial era to assist in the development of sound education, ensure that standards are maintained and to give the people of West Africa a vision of the potential which lies beyond examinations.
Adenipekun admitted that over the years, WAEC in Nigeria has remained a peace setter in the conduct of examinations.
The HNO reminded staff that the May/June 2019 WASSCE would soon start, and arrangement that will fast track its conduct and marking was strategised at the 35th Test Administration Division Planning and Coordination Committee meeting held in Rivers State recently.
Said he: All hands must be on deck for the successful completion of the exercise. There should not be any room for a minute mistake from any staff.’’
A WAEC exam supervisor, Mr. Aloba Akindele in his presentation at the event urged the council to review the remuneration it pays to supervisors as ad-hoc staff during examination in order to motivate them.
Akindele said in recent years, WAEC has put in measures to curb examination malpractice and called on the management to take up Insurance policy for the supervisors, so that they will carry out their duties without fear.
Even some supervisor are threatened at examination centres because they are seen to be too tough and we have also seen some school teachers instigating students to molest and threaten supervisors who they think are too tough and uncompromising thereby putting the supervisors’ lives in danger.’’
In his paper, the Director, Centre for Information Technology and System, Prof Ike Mowete commended WAEC for the 67th anniversary and acknowledged the council’s contribution to the education sector.
Representative of the Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mr. Abiodun Oni said the state government has zero tolerance for exam malpractice and stressed that some principals and teachers have been demoted because of report from WAEC indicting them.
Oni urged WAEC to always inform the principals and teachers about their offence during the examination because each time they are summoned to defend the allegation, they deny it.
WAEC Orchestra entertained guests with songs, school debate between Queen’s College, Yaba and Dowen College, Lekki, health talk, cutting of anniversary cake and presentation of awards.