By Emmanuel Edukugho
After he formally announced the release of results for the May/June 2009 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) recently Dr. lyi Uwadiae, Head of National Office, West African Examinations Council (WAEC), fielded questions from the education media, which included Vanguard Education Weekly.
Reproduced here are some of his responses to the questions asked after his address.
Can you compare the results of last year with that of 2009 and whether the results are better than 2008?
We donâ€™t want to bother you with comparison. We in WAEC enjoy giving you such statistics, but donâ€™t want to bother you.
If you want comparison, you can come back later. We give 3-year comparison, the Chief Examiner also gives it. To compare with 2009, last year had 23.5%â€”I mean quality result, that is candidates who got five credits and above in Mathematics and English.
But in 2009, itâ€™s 25.99%, so slightly better. But if subject to statistical test, there is no difference. But it is a better performance. In three years, a general performance can be seen to be flowing. Nothing at hand to jubilate about, but the results have been consistent. Factors against performance are still there. Intervention not slowing.
Why has WAEC altered the names and dates of commencement of its examinations?
Itâ€™s a matter of nomenclature. WAEC gave these names to the examinations conducted. Before, the school examinations were in May/June, then the General Certificate of Examination in November/December.
WAEC being conservative, unless we go back to the board for change. The examinations are not attached to the months. Itâ€™s just a nomenclature. Also Nigeria plays prominent role in WAEC affairs. When we changed to 6-3-3-4 system, others went the same way with Nigeria.
Because we have WAEC and NECO, WAEC as a reasonable body that looks at the sensitivity of society. so we gave opportunity for others to go and sit for NECO. So when WAEC finishes, NECO takes over.
It boils down to the conservative nature of WAEC -giving consideration to NECO. We donâ€™t want to change names as done by women.
Looking at quality results, if you meet with other colleagues, do you do any comparison to see how Nigeria fared?
This is West African Senior School Certificate Examination. It is for the four-members states that subscribe. Except Liberia, our results are declared same time. We did Grade Awards meetings, the same in Nigeria, Ghana, etc. All the results are put together …
Al given in Ghana, in Gambia, and so on. No way without comparison. So who therefore is better?
I want to say that Iâ€™m proud to be a Nigerian. Nigeria is not doing badly. The excellence awards is dominated by Nigeria. Weâ€™re on the lead, not only in population but also in grade. No other member country will certainly get more than 25.99%. Nigeria is not doing badly.
What are your observations for the failure of Mathematics and English Language?
From the research studies in our archives, there is no leaning, no effective teaching. There are also the roles of parents, students and the society. In those days, when students get home, parents will want to see their books and so on. But not so today. No control, the children go to internet. Unless those with magnetic brains that can remember. If you donâ€™t read, how will you pass?
Society pursues money, material things. Men interested in money. Teachers will say that they are not motivated, but 85 per cent of them at break time transact their own business. No summer school for students during holidays. In those days, summer schools were free of charge. But not so now. No effective teaching, no effective learning.
During marking of scripts, are there any observations to know if students have p re-know ledge of question papers?
Iâ€™m not pastor. Our examiners are so dedicated, trained to know if candidates cheat. There could be collusion, copying one another. Two-third may copy same thing – spelling error the same (like J ohn written job), will be like that. Itâ€™s collusion.
That subject will be cancelled. We donâ€™t want leakage. Because I donâ€™t have snake medicine, wonâ€™t want snake to bite me.
When faults and errors in names of candidates come from WAEC, what can be done?
Before 2003, some of these faults will come. Now candidates just shade – do it yourself. Itâ€™s the spelling put there that we will capture, all data as given, we donâ€™t touch. So (candidates) should be more careful. First do off line, ensure that it is correct before going online.
Any error traceable to WAEC is corrected free of charge. But if the error is by you, you pay administrative fees, so be more careful./ If you ask me, results of such people can be predicted, they canâ€™t pass.
One of the reasons why the Council introduced on-line registration for its examinations is to eliminate avoidable errors committed during registration for its examinations. Unfortunately, however, five years after we commenced online registration for our examinations, candidates and schools have been inundating us with all manner of requests for amendments for errors committed by them during registration.
We have discovered that some candidates deliberately introduce errors during registration in order to come back and ask for â€œCorrectionsâ€ to satisfy their fraudulent intentions.