By Dayo Adesulu
It was rather worrisome when the WAEC International Excellence Award Winners for May/June 2014 WASSCE was announced and no Nigerian student was among the best three as Ghana clinched first, second and third in the international prestigious awards.
When the winners were announced recently in Ikeja, Lagos, in the presence of WAEC representatives in West Africa, it was disclosed that Master Hasan Mickail, Master Kenyah Blaykyi and Master Archibald Henry all from Ghana got the first, second and third positions at the International Excellence Award prizes respectively.
Hasan Mickail 18, who attended Ghana Secondary Technical School, Takoradi during May/June, 2014 WASSCE made eight A1 in Mathematics (core), Mathematics (elective), Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Integrated Science, Social Studies and English Language with a total score of 682.0933. Following Hasan closely was Kenyah Blaykyi 19, who attended St. Augustine’s College, Cape Coast scored eight A1 in eight subjects including English Language and Mathematics with total score of 680.4287.
Third prize which went to Archibald Henry 18, from Mfantsipim School, Cape Coast, had A1 in eight subjects including English Language and Mathematics. His total score was 676.9348. It is note worthy that the three International Excellence Award winners as announced this year are all males from Ghana. Incidentally, in 2013 Ghanian students also won the three prestigious International Excellence Awards, where two females, Miss Ivy Ama Mannoh and Miss Rhoda Adu-Boafo emerged first and second respectively. Followed by Master Mwinmaarong Lucio Dery all from Ghana who emerged third.
Also, Ghanian students have registered themselves as best candidates in West Africa, by repeating the same feat in 2012, when they clinched the first, second and third positions. Record shows that in 2012 WASSCE, Miss Yvette Yeboah-Kordieh, Master Josbert Ayambire and Master Bright Seyram Tsevi all of Ghana emerged first, second and third respectively.
It will interest you to note that in 2011 WASSCE, Ghanaian students also emerged first and second beating Miss Adeloye Ope from Nigeria who emerged third. In 2010, no winner emerged. However, in 2008 and 2009, Ghanian students took the first, second and third positions in the West African examination. It will be right to assert that for Ghanian students to have won this prestigious international award for five consecutive years, its secondary school education system must be superb and worthy of emulation.
The last time Nigerian students won was in 2007, when its students came first consistently from 2002 to 2007. What has happened to Nigeria’s secondary school educational system from 2008 to 2013 that no Nigerian students has emerged first or second in WASSCE? Speaking at the WAEC 63rd Annual Council Meeting held in Lagos last week, its registrar, Dr. Iyi Uwadiae said: “The three candidates were selected from a total of 2,018,497 candidates who sat for the examination in the Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.’’
He noted that in addition to the first prize, the Augustus Bandele Oyediran Award for the Best candidate in West Africa will be presented to Master Mickail Hasan, the overall best student. In the breakdown, he said: ‘’A total of 2,450,626 candidates sat the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in all the member countries in 2014. Out of this total figure, 2,018,497 candidates sat the May/June WASSCE conducted for school candidates while 432,129 candidates sat the November/December WASSCE as private candidates.”
According to him, the 2014 candidature showed a decrease of 140,161 candidates which was about 5.41 per cent below the 2013 figure of 2,590,787 and a decrease of 97,604 candidates which was 3.85 per cent below the 2012 figure of 2,548,230. The Registrar who lauded WAEC for efficient conduct of the examination, noted that leakages of question papers did not occur in any office of WAEC in 2014. He, however lamented that other forms of malpractice featured in the conduct of the Council’s examinations in all the member countries.
‘’The fight against examination malpractice is rigorous and the weapons are expensive,’’ he said. According to him, the National offices have intensified their efforts at eradicating the malaise through various strategies, such as extensive group briefings or meetings. Other media including stakeholders’ dialogue, prime space media advertorials and the use of metal detectors among others.
Uwadiae however averred that the afore mentioned effort would soon be rendered futile if all other stakeholders remain indifferent leaving WAEC to wrestle with the highly sophisticated, innovative and resilient perpetrators. He urged member governments and other stakeholders in education to resume a fierce battle against examination malpractice to safeguard the integrity of public examinations in our Sub-region.