*Explains why it won’t conduct CBT examinations
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA–THE West African Examinations Council,WAEC,has solicited financial support from the Federal Government of Nigeria to acquire machine that would guarantee the security of its examinations materials the Nigeria.
WAEC said its call for support was based on the grounds that the machine it acquired to this effect has since been grounded hence can no longer guarantee the security of its examinations materials.
Chairman of WAEC,Prof. Ato Essuman,presented the request to the government, Thursday, during his courtesy visit to the Minister of Education,Malam Adamu Adamu,in Abuja.
He said the machine which costs 3.9 million dollars needed to be procured to enable the council to achieve its mandate of conducting effective examinations.
“As a responsible and responsive organisation, the Council is always seeking ways of improving on its service delivery to stakeholders. The Nigeria National Office embarked on the establishment of a Digital Printing Press for the printing of examination security materials – the first to be owned by the Council in Nigeria
“However, the project, which is nearing completion, has been stalled because the office is unable to fund the acquisition of a particular machine that is vital to the operation of the system,” Prof.Essuman told the minister,”he told the minister.
He added:”The Head of National Office informed me that the Council had formally solicited government’s support in this regard and I wish therefore to use this rate privilege that you have graciously extended to me today to request your kind intervention to enable us to secure the required financial assistance for the procurement of the machine.”
Speaking further,the WAEC Chairman said,”On our part,I wish to assure you and other stakeholders that though the office of the Chairman of WAEC is laden with diverse challenges due to the regional nature of the organisation and its critical role in education, I have taken on the challenges and, by the grace of God, will do my best in all circumstances to fulfill the expectations of the monber countries.”
Prof. Essuman,who was accompanied by Registrar to Council and Head of National Office in Nigeria, expressed his profound gratitude to the minister, for granting him audience.
Noting that he saw the gesture as a manifestation of the minister’s warm disposition to the Council and what it stands for,Prof. Essuman,who has just been appointed as chairman of the regional examinations body, explained that,”Part of our culture in WAEC is that upon assumption of office by a new Chairman, an auspicious forum is created for him to formally present himself to the Minister of Education and through the Minister to the President in each member country of the Council.”
“My courtesy visit to you today is meant to provide the opportunity for me to present myself and the organisation that I have humbly accepted to Chair for the three-year period 2021-2024 to you and through you to His Excellency the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,”he said.
Açcording to him,”In the seventy years of WAEC’s existence, Nigeria has stood out in the comity of member nations not only in the discharge of its obligations to the Council but even in the enthusiasm and promptness with which most of the obligations are discharged.”
Explaining that,”Council is the governing board or highest policy-making body of WAEC, which has authority over all its committees and national offices in the five member countries”,he added:” It consists of 34 members, representing the governments, universities. secondary schools and other interest groups in the member countries.”
“The chairmanship of Council rotates every three years among the member countries, and in its 70 years of existence the organisation has had 19 Chairmen.
“Among the past Chairmen of Council are four eminent Nigerians – Prof. Adeoye Lambo (1969-71), Prof. M. O. Oyawoye (1985-88), Dr. Yahaya Hamza (1997-2000) and Prof. (Emeritus) P. A. I. Obanya (2012-2015).
” I was elected by acclamation as the 20 Chairman of Council at the 69th Annual Council Meeting hosted by the Government of Ghana in March 2021.
“The first Council Meeting where I presided as Chairman was the 70” Annual Council Meeting hosted by the Government of Nigeria in March 2022.
I thank His Excellency the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for accepting to host the Meeting. I appreciate the Vice-President who ably represented the President on that occasion,”he said.
He expressed gratitude not only to the minister but the entire Government of Nigeria for the highly impressive roles played in ensuring a grand hosting of WAEC 70th meeting by Nigeria.
“I recall, Honourable Minister, your personal efforts and contribution towards the successful conduct of WASSCE in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Not too long ago, you approved a marginal upward review of the fee for WASSCE to enable the National Office to keep afloat and serve the Nigerian child optimally in the face of rising costs of goods and services across the subregion. I cannot thank you enough.
“WAEC, like many organisations, no doubt, has to contend with the realities of the times and make itself relevant to its many stakeholders, particularly, the Government of member countries. This requires some introspection in the way business is conducted. As Chairman, and with your support, I am hopeful that WAEC will rise to the occasion. Our singular purpose as a Council is our resolve to maintain the integrity of public examinations,”he said
The Minister of Education,Malam Adamu Adamu, promised to do his best to make sure that the Nigerian government support the WAEC in achieving its mandate.
Meanwhile,the Head of WAEC National Office,Mr Patrick Areghan,has said the examination had no intention to conduct Computer Based Test,CBT,for its school based and private examinations, explaining migrating to such practice was impossible given the peculiar nature of WAEC examinations.
Areghan said CBT would only be achieved if government provided the required facilities to enable it conduct such examinations.
He said that WAEC conducts examinations for over 20,000 secondary schools in the country and in 76 subjects and as such would be difficult to use CBT for its examinations knowing fully well that a candidate could offer as low as eight subjects.
Areghan aslo explained that the marginal increase of the registration fees for WAEC examination from N13,950 to N18,000 was caused by spiral inflation being witnessed in Nigeria.
He pledged that WAEC would continue to improve on its service delivery, assuring that the just concluded 2022 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) will be released within 45 days after the conduct of the last paper as is the practice of the Council.
Speaking during a visit to one of the Council’s marking centres, in Abuja, Areghan said there had been a marginal increase in WAEC fees because of the country’s spiral inflation.
Areghan said that the conversion of naira to dollar today was a misery saying that the upward review of fees was necessary to enable the council to render its services efficiently to the Nigerian child.
“There has to be that marginal increase to enable us to do better services. The examiners are now happy as we are able to increase their marking fees through this marginal increase.
“The money actually went for the payment of examiners to enable us to satisfy them so that they can do the job better,” he said.
He said that each candidate registering for the examinations now has to pay N18,000 as against the former N13,950.