By Chinyere Nwachukwu
The West African Examinations Council has urged schools intending to enroll candidates for this year’s West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) to adhere to the new Feb. 12 deadline to do so.The council’s Head, National Office (HNO), Mr Patrick Areghan, said early registration would give the council adequate time to prepare the pre and post examination materials.He gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
According to him, the delay in meeting registration deadline by schools is one of the major challenges facing the operations of the council, aside examination malpractice.He warned that a situation whereby some school owners would deliberately delay in registering their candidates for the examination would no longer be tolerated in the current year and going forward. “As usual, we are working assiduously toward the conduct of a hitch-free examination for the school candidates diet and indeed all three diets of our examination this year.“But I must state that before now, we have been faced with issues of late registration of candidates, especially on the side of the private schools, and this is hindering the operations of council in conducting the examination.“We floated entry in December 2021 for the registration of candidates for the 2022 WASSCE for schools and as I speak to you now, only a few schools have complied. They are coming in trickles.“
Non adherence to registration deadline for candidates by schools has remained, indeed, a huge challenge to us, and so we are strongly appealing for these schools to comply because we need time to print the pre and and post examination materials.”The HNO stated that early registration gave the council an idea of the number of candidates to plan for, in terms of printing the question and answer scripts, including briefs, as well as ensuring proper capture of data.“
If we do not have the exact number of candidates that will write the examination long before we start preparation, it becomes an uphill task for the council to manage. That not even withstanding, we go ahead to give window to these latecomers or stragglers, as well as what we call super late entry, ” the council boss stated.He attributed the non adherence to deadline to what he described as “shopping for candidates” from various sources, to make up for the number to be registered.The HNO said that schools were not allowed to enroll external candidates as school candidates for the examination, noting that this is against the National Policy on Education.
The council boss explained that the super late entries were often tolerated by the council in a bid to accommodate every child desirous of the certificate, but it normally came with a cost.Areghan fingered private school owners as being the main culprits, warning that there would be no room for such practice anymore.He said that the council had put modalities in place to check the unwholesome act.“You see, technology is very costly and we do not do it all alone.
It is usually in collaboration with other key stakeholders.“So, when they fail to meet with the deadline, they are surcharged. Sometimes, these people will be running to us to register candidates, even while the examination has started,” he said.Areghan said that already, arrangements were almost concluded to carry out sensitisation workshops for schools.According to the council boss, the workshop will involve all the principals of registered schools, as well as other key stakeholders, in further discussing the need to adhere strictly to the rules and regulations guiding the conduct of the examination.He said that this would be followed by another elaborate workshop for examination supervisors only.“
We are expecting that all registered schools in the country will participate in this, as we are envisaging not less than 1.5 million candidates for this year’s school examination.“We are going to organise this workshop for all these schools and their principals, before we turn to the supervisors.”
We are going to also have an elaborate session with these supervisors, to again, bring to their knowledge, the rules and regulations guiding the conduct of this examination, as spelt out in our syllabus.“The fact remains that even though some of the operators of these schools know the rules, how many of them are willing to comply?”
The WAEC boss further warned owners of schools against complicity in examination malpractice, as the council would not hesitate in blacklisting anyone caught for as long as necessary.He regretted the fact that some supervisors had been found wanting over cases of examination malpractice, noting that more stringent measures awaited those that would be caught in the act.” Some of them have been caught over their involvement in assisting candidates to compromise the standard of the examination and they are now in court.“It is unfortunate how some of these supervisors will choose to look the other way, when conducting the examination. Some even volunteer to use their handsets to snap questions and send outside to their accomplices, all in the name of assisting candidates.“Of course, they are usually caught. We must catch them, as we have our cutting edge technology deployed to catch all those perpetrators of evil,” he noted.On the issue of challenges faced by the council in conducting the examination in the face of the current insecurity in the country, Areghan lauded some state governments for providing the enabling environment.According to him, conducting the examination in the current state of insecurity occasioned by banditry, kidnapping and others, has cost the council a fortune.He noted that council had been working closely with some state governments, especially in some high risk areas, to ensure the safety of candidates, examination materials, council members, as well as all others involved in the conduct of the examination.“I want to sincerely thank these state governors for providing us with the much needed security to ensure safety of all that is involved in the exercise. In some very dangerous areas, we even go ahead to move candidates to more secured places for the examination to hold.“This whole issue of insecurity is also biting hard on the lean resources of council. We now need to double efforts to secure men and materials for the examination.” We now have to pay double, in moving our men and these materials, to the nooks and crannies where the examination is to be administered.“We are even owing our service providers because the examination is not just handled or organised by council alone,” Areghan said.The council boss also pleaded with state governments owing the council to pay up and come for the results of their candidates. (NAN)