The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) believes appropriate safeguards are in place to ensure the safety of all school candidates who have enrolled for the 2023 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Mr Patrick Areghan, the council’s Head of National Office (HNO), provided the assurance during an interactive session with newsmen on the level of preparations for the countrywide test on Thursday in Lagos.
Areghan claimed that the test will take place from Monday, May 8 to Friday, June 23, a duration of seven weeks.
The WAEC chief said that the council could not pretend to be unaware of the degree of insecurity in the country, and that holding exams in such circumstances was a difficult assignment.
According to him, there are several flashpoints around the country, and conducting tests in such regions necessitates additional security measures.
“As a result, we are coordinating security with the Inspector General of Police, Brigade Commanders, other security agencies, and state governments.”
“This is to ensure that the examination takes place in a secure and safe environment.” In this regard, we have also requested the assistance of the Minister of Education.
“Similarly, our zonal and branch offices have requested assistance from various security organisations in their respective areas.” Courtesy visits and other types of appeal have been made, and we have been assured of the security services’ complete cooperation in this regard.
“If and when the need arises,” he stated, “schools in insecure areas will be relocated to safe havens with the full approval, cooperation, and participation of the relevant Federal or State Government.”
Areghan went on to say that 1,621,853 applicants from 20,851 secondary schools throughout the country have enrolled for the test.
He stated that 798,810 are male, accounting for 49.25 percent, while 823,043 are female, accounting for 50.75 percent.
The HNO said that overall, the number of candidates for the 2023 WASSCE (School Candidate) climbed by 13, 868 over the figure for the same diet in 2022, which was 1,607,985.
He said that the council had successfully resorted to the May/June timeframe for the conduct of the examination for the second time in a row, calling it as exceptional.
According to him, the importance of this milestone is that WAEC and the different member countries, with the exception of Ghana, have once again established common ground in terms of academic calendars.
“This demonstrates a massive recovery from the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.” “Our heartfelt thanks go to the minister of Education and his ministry for this memorable achievement, as well as to the registrar to council for his tireless efforts,” he stated.
He said that the council has set up a “Self-Service” mechanism for candidates using the CHATBOT Platform.
Areghan added that this was done to allow them to see their submissions, which most schools do not allow them to view, despite instructions.
According to him, candidate Self-Service is a service on the Request Management System/Chatbot (https://request.waec.ng) that enables students to check data supplied by schools for them in order to make required modifications (if any).
According to him, it supplied two major services on the Request Management System, namely Confirmation of Entry/Registration and Confirmation of Continuous Assessment Score (CASS).
On the usage of National Identification Numbers (NIN) as a condition for examination registration, the WAEC head said that, although not mandatory, the NIN was made a component of the registration criteria.
“The policy was implemented in accordance with the Federal Government’s directive.” Candidates were expected to provide their NIN during the registration process, although it was not a necessity.
“This is to avoid denying access to the portal/examination to a large number of qualified candidates.” Even after completing the registration process, applicants might still submit their NIN for upload.
“As a result, no candidate was disqualified from registration as a result of failure to submit NIN at the start of the exercise, or even later,” he stated.
Areghan, on the other hand, frowned on intentional attempts by certain private school proprietors to miss the registration deadline.
According to him, the unfortunate discovery has posed a significant difficulty to the whole testing process.
“There was a very serious challenge of non-compliance with the registration deadline, to the extent that what we began on Oct. 10, 2022, with a set deadline of Jan. 27 was eventually extended to March 31.”
“It couldn’t even end because of the shenanigans of some private schools, which were in the habit of shopping for external candidates to make up numbers, in violation of policy, which prohibits the enrollment of private candidates for School Candidates examination.”
“On April 15, entries were finally closed.” The test begins on Monday, May 8.
“However, some schools continue to bombard us with requests for entries, even after the pre-examination, examination, and post-examination materials have been produced and distributed to the various states of the federation,” he stated.
On the subject of examination malpractice, he warned that the council would deal with it harshly, regardless of who was implicated.
Penalties for examination malpractice, he claims, will always be meted out unequivocally to anyone discovered to be complicit.
He said that such applicants, invigilators, supervisors, schools, and WAEC officials, among others, would face penalties if the Nigeria Examinations Committee (NEC) accepted them.
According to Areghan, the NEC was the council’s top decision-making committee that decided on examination concerns in Nigeria.
He said that the council, on its part, has launched many awareness campaigns and held seminars for school principals.
Areghan stated that similar awareness programmes have also been used to sensitise principals, students, teachers, and other important stakeholders in branch and zonal offices around the country.
“We have also created flyers, banners, posters, and other forms of reminders to keep the message fresh in the minds of all stakeholders.”
“It is on this note that I urge parents and guardians to encourage their children to study hard and refrain from engaging in any form of examination malpractice.”
“The media must also serve as a watchdog. The individual education ministries should summon their principals, teachers, and other personnel functioning as inspectors and/or supervisors.
“Supervisors should refrain from allowing candidates to use their cell phones or from providing candidates with their own (supervisors’) cell phones.”
“Any form of collusion or aiding and abetting should be avoided.” Every candidate and examination functionary must follow the regulations, which are clearly laid out in the WAEC Syllabus and Examination Guidelines supplied to schools.
“Failing schools will be decertified, failing officials will be adequately punished, and failing candidates will lose their results,” he said.
He noted that, as is customary for the council, the results of applicants who took the test will be revealed 45 days after the final paper was completed.
He claims that the certificates would be produced and sent to schools in less than 90 days after the results are released.
In order to better serve the Nigerian kid, WAEC in Nigeria obtained a state-of-the-art digital certificate printer, allowing it to create and give certificates to candidates in record speed.