April 14, 2011

WAEC sanctions 51,876 for malpractices

By Emmanuel Edukugho

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has sanctioned 51,876 candidates who sat the November/December 2010 WASSCE in Nigeria and whose results were withheld based on reports of their alleged involvement in examination malpractice. This was announced by Chief Adeniyi Falade, the Acting Chairman of the Nigeria Examinations Committee (NEC), which is the highest decision-making organ of WAEC on examination in Nigeria.

Alhaja (Mrs) Mulikat Bello, Registrar, WAEC and Chief Adeniyi Falade

He explained that NEC is saddled with a responsibility for the core business of the council, “which is to ensure at all times, the conduct of examinations of acceptable standard and award of certificates that are worthy of international recognition.”

At the end of the 51st Meeting of NEC held from 5 to 7, April 2011, held in the Conference Centre, Excellence Hotel, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos, and after due consideration of the cases, the committee endorsed appropriate sanctions prescribed by the rules and regulations governing the conduct of the examination.

Falade, who is the National President of ANCOPSS, said NEC endorsed the cancellation of the entire results of candidates involved in cases which attract such penalty, as well as the cancellation of the subject results of candidates involved in cases which attract only the cancellation of subject results.

He added that several candidates and teachers also suffered various other sanctions. “These sanctions include barring candidates from sitting for the council’s examinations for certain number of years and reporting erring teachers to the appropriate authorities for disciplinary action. However, any candidates whom the committee felt did not have convincing evidence against them were left off the hook.”

The Acting Chairman assured that the various decisions of the committee will be implemented without delay and affected candidates will be duly informed by the National office.

In a communique issued, it was acknowledged that during the meeting, reports on the conduct of the Nov/Dec 2010 West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) in Nigeria and recorded cases of malpractice both during the conduct of the examination and marking of scripts were considered. Special and clemency cases were also considered.

The committee approved that ad-hoc examination functionaries who had fallen short of expectation in the performance of their duties or were involved in unwholesome acts during the conduct of examinations be reported to appropriate authorities for disciplinary action.

It enjoined all stakeholders in the education sector to join hands with WAEC and other examination bodies in combatting examination malpractice. The committee decried the practice by some community leaders who visit examination centres under the guise of monitoring the conduct of examinations, but who in reality engage in promoting malpractice.

“The culture of examination malpractice in the secondary school system had been entrenched because, rather than regard education as a social service, some proprietors of private schools regard it as a pure business venture,” the committee observed.

The ministries of education were called on to exercise their authority as supervisors of the education sector and endeavour to clamp down on schools which perpetrate or condone examination malpractice whether public or private.

The decay of facilities in the public schools over the years was noted as contributing “immensely to the decline in standards in the public schools.” The various governments were urged for more commitment in redressing the situation.

Statistics of entires and results for the May/June 2010 WASSCE, the Chief Examiners’ Reports on the November/December 2010 WASSCE conducted in Nigeria and a report on the appointment of new/substitute chief examiners for some subjects, reports on the activities of the Aptitude Tests Department for the period October 2010 to March 2011 and activities of the Research Division from November 2010 to February 2011 were considered.

As regards to the Chief Examiner’\s Reports on the November/December 2010 WASSCE, it was noted that the papers compared favourably with those of previous examinations. The questions were said to be properly structured, unambiguous and within the scope of the syllabuses while the marking schemes were detailed and marks adequately distributed.

Weaknesses of candidates identified in the Chief Examiners’ Reports include “shallow knowledge of subject matter, inadequate coverage of the syllabuses, disregard for rubrics, incorrect interpretation of questions, poor expression of the English language, lack of Mathematical/Manipulative skills, poor knowledge of examination techniques and wrong spelling of technical terms.”

Recommendations proffered to enhance the performance of candidates include – procure and study all the prescribed texts before examination period, basic rules of English grammar be improperly learnt by candidate; candidates should cover the content of the syllabuses before examination time; candidates should read the set questions and rubrics carefully in order to understand their requirements.