By Emmanuel Edukugho
The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) released results of the May/June 2011 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in Abeokuta, Ogun State with Head of the Nigeria National Office, WAEC, Dr. Uyi Uwadiae declaring that candidates have not done badly in Mathematics and English Language this time around.
A total of 1,540,250 candidates made up of 844,630 male and 695,620 female candidates sat the may/June 2011 WASSCE. The results of 81,573 candidates, representing 5.29% of the total number of candidates were seized for various reports of alleged involvement in examination malpractice.
About 587,630 candidates representing 38.93% obtained credits and above in Mathematics, while 838,314 candidates, representing 55.34% obtained credit and above in English Language.
Similarly, 618,924 candidates, representing 40.55% obtained credit and above in six subjects; 789,288 candidates representing 51.71% obtained five credits and above; 943,187 (80%) obtained credit and above in four subjects; whereas 1,084,817 (71.08%) obtained credit and above in three subjects. A total of 1,223,359 candidates representing 80.15% obtained credit and above in two subjects.
Uwadiae disclosed that 110 blind candidates sat the examination, while 41 of them, representing 37.27% obtained credit and above in five subjects.
On the whole, he said the result is an improvement on last year’s (2010) with a total of 472,960 candidates representing 30.99% obtained credits and above in five subjects including Mathematics and English Language.
In a question and answer session with the media after announcing the result, Dr. Uyi Uwadiae touched on several aspects of WAEC activities and education generally in the country while responding to issues raised.
Most students have not been communicated with decisions of the Nigeria Examinations Committee on the various cases concerning withheld results. Why is it so?
Decisions of Nigeria Examinations Committee have been communicated to the schools affected. But not on website. We are still looking at that – whether to communicate the decisions to the candidates themselves or the schools.
Recently, the Lagos State Government introduced extra time coaching for students specifically on Mathematics and English to improve their importance. Has this impacted on the results just declared by WAEC?
I don’t have the statistics for Lagos State as regards the performance of its students in this examination. But it will take a long time after conduct of several other examinations to know, or to find out if previous performance is better than now. We have to compare, look at the variables, and other things to actually know if there is progress. If students are properly taught by their teachers, they will pass also very well.
Why is WAEC not coming out to clear the air about politicians allegedly accused of forging results and certificates presented for election purpose?
WAEC is an examination body which conducts examination for students of secondary schools and also for private candidates. If at any time, a competent court of law asks WAEC to release or produce a result of anyone, we will do so. But if a journalist asks us, we won’t do so.
We don’t put our results in public domain, not individual results for that matter. This is because we don’t want to be sued. But if requested by competent court, we will do so.
Even if a company wants confirmation from WAEC in respect of someone seeking employment, we can send the result under confidential cover. But if for the investigation of a politician, we won’t do so.
Some state governments enter their students on credit for WAEC examination, how many of such states are owing for non-payment of examination fees?
If any state government says we conduct examination on credit for their students, we do so. No state government is owing us as at now. But as soon as the state pays up, the results will be released immediately. Now, no state government is owing WAEC. I don’t think we have problems with payment of examination fees by governments.
Is it not possible to have the statistics of the results state by state?
The danger of doing so is the interpretation because it will look as if to say one state is disadvantaged educationally compared to another. But if a state request for statistics of its performance, WAEC can do so.
This will be like seeking a feedback mechanism to assist in remedying shortcomings. If anyone is interested in the performance of any state, let the state endorse your request and we will do so. We don’t just release state statistics.
Why did you not give us the overall statistics of candidates who passed the required subjects necessary for tertiary admission as done in previous years?
Why must we do something the same way every time? Things must change, cannot be conservative. But if you want so, I can tell you now. Candidates have not done badly in English Language and Mathematics this year. There use to be cut and paste kind of results – some do it to get the required subjects.
However, a total of 472,960 candidates representing 30.99% obtained credits and above in five subjects including Mathematics and English Language. I think this is what you want to know.
What is WAEC doing to bring in more local languages for its examination?
We have some local languages already – Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa. We are developing the syllabus for others. Edo is interested. The three local languages have attracted large candidature so far.
Yoruba covers South West, Hausa covers the North, Igbo covers the whole South East. Many people write the examination. Sometime ago, a Nigerian language was made compulsory – no pass, no excellence. But we have soft-pedaled. But they are doing well.
For example, Hausa with 144,499 representing 51.86%, obtained credits and above. The performance is good, okay, but there is room for improvement. However, we observed that teachers are not there. But in the North, yes. In the South West, you have teachers in Yoruba. For Igbo in South East, the teachers are there, but not in Sough/South. There is need for retraining of teachers in local languages.
What is the cause of so many results still being processed?
It is because of various errors and omissions committed during the online registration and the actual conduct of the examination. The cyber cafes are not properly monitored for wrong spelling of names.
Candidates can go to WAEC to effect correction if wrong information is offloaded – either at state or zonal offices. But if the examination has started, you must come to Lagos to effect any correction.
Your examiners are not well paid. Is this true?
Yes, WAEC examiners are not well paid. But we’ve asked the Board for review – with the meager resources available.
How much is WAEC revenue?
If you want to know, go to the Federal ministry of Education. You will then ask for donations for WAEC. We are very conservative. WAEC is frugal, staff never goes on strike. Federal Government gives us money to subsidise what we have.
On touts in WAEC premises?
WAEC can’t check touts alone. At Ogba, Yaba, if you come there, people will hijack you and ask to help you. There is a syndicate. Some were arrested with the assistance of Police and Army. They were caught with stolen certificates. When they are removed, only to come back again.