Organises international exam summit for redress
If you read, you will pass, says Registrar
By Dayo Adesulu
REGISTRAR to Council, of the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, Dr. Iyi Uwadiae, has lamented the rate at which students, parents and merrcenaries connive before and during examination to cheat. Uwadiae who described it as alarming, warned that if stakeholders do not urgently arrest the trend, it would erode the future of our students.
The Registrar who spoke in Lagos during a media parley with editors to laud the virtues and achievements of the President of Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, said: “There is no short cut to success, if you prepare, you will pass your examination.”
He noted that in the last four years, no Nigerian student has made first position in African examinations. “In the last four years, when we did the global excellence awards and put all the results of students together, Ghana, which is not up to a state in Nigeria, has been taking the first, second and third positions except last year when Nigeria came second, while Ghana still emerged first and third.
“We feel pained and disturbed. If we just say ours is to give out the questions, conduct the exams and mark the scripts, people will ask after some years what we did to arrest the downward trend. We want all hands to be on deck to let them know that there is no short cut to success. If you prepare, you will make it. If you read, you will pass,” he said.
Uwadiae, however, pointed out that some people who call themselves mercenaries are misleading the students. According to him, “these people would promise to give students questions for each examination, but unknown to the innocent candidates, they are fake question papers. These people do them more harm than good.”
Fake WAEC question papers
He said that there are some faceless individuals, especially since the introduction of social media, who make money from students through the sale of fake WAEC question and answer papers.
Surprisingly, he noted that many parents are involved. “Many parents go to any length to get question papers for their children before examination. The same parents will be looking for examiners who will give them scripts to assist their children pass.”
He said it beats his imagination how students raise such huge amounts of money to obtain the so-called question papers adding that it is ridiculous for somebody to have a WAEC certificate and yet cannot spell his father’s name correctly. “Can you blame WAEC for that? No,” he said.
Uwadiae who described exam malpractice as terror, urged the government to label those who aid and abet it as terrorists. Against this backdrop, he disclosed that on October 19 and 20, the Council will be bringing stakeholders from member-countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Gambia to present papers, rub minds together and share experiences from their various countries; adding that media correspondents will be allowed to participate in the international examination summit slated for October in Nigeria.
He said: “If this is the only way we can sensitise the public to know some of the tricks WAEC candidates use these days, maybe the innocent ones they want to recruit will be liberated. We need that very urgently.
Sensitising the public
“We are doing what we are supposed to do. We are bringing the venue of the meeting here because we have the population in Nigeria. If we keep quiet concerning the education sector, no one will do it for us.”
Explaining the difference between WAEC and JAMB examinations, he said: “The examinations conducted by WAEC rely on valid and reliable tests. It is achievement test and not selection test. We test the achievements of candidates at the senior secondary school level. When candidates pass WAEC, they say we have dealt with WAEC, but when they fail, they say WAEC failed me. WAEC scores you based on what you wrote.”
Also, going down memory lane, the Registrar compared what WAEC used to be years back and what it is now. He said that in those days, WAEC would set the questions, bring them to Lagos and distribute to all regions or states, then to the schools. He noted, “Because there were not too many schools, they were handed over to the principals of the schools for safe keep.
“In my own days, the reverend fathers of the Catholic schools were the ones keeping the questions and nothing ever happened to those scripts. Nobody was going after these question papers. In the examination halls in those days, you dare not look sideways as you would be sent out of the hall by the reverend father.
“If we compare that time with today, there is a wide difference. At that time, it was only the supervisor that was allowed to come to the examination venue who would collect the students’ scripts and keep in the principal’s office and at the end of the examinations, WAEC took them away.
Collecting the students’ scripts
“Gradually, we have moved away from that because the situation is becoming risky leaving question papers with the school. The principals may have good intention, but we have cases where principals’ offices were burgled.”
To arrest the trend, he said: “WAEC decided that since people are so desperate, we will be keeping the question papers in our strong room. But again, there were threats from external forces. With the introduction of social media, we are being terrorized. These people run after our examination papers, solve them and pretend to be giving out the solutions and the innocent students buy into it.
“Three weeks ago, they cloned question papers of 2016 for 2017 and were selling it to students. Innocent students were buying it. It is not only painful to us as WAEC staff, but as Nigerians. These children are no longer achieving because they are going to fail at the end of the day. How do we explain that these people are not doing well? Is it because they have no teachers? The answer is no. They are taught. But rather than concentrating on what they are taught, they wait for ready- made answers.
“On Facebook, my name and picture were cloned to defraud innocent citizens. The recent one was to advertise a job in my name, asking job seekers to pay certain amount of money before they get the job in WAEC.”