By Awayi Kuje
Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa has urged the Nigeria National Committee (NNC) of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to intensify efforts to curb the incidence of examination malpractice.
Sule spoke at the council’s 61st annual meeting of the NNC of WAEC, on Thursday, in Lafia.
He said that the body must not to rest on its oars, in evolving strategies and initiatives that would drastically reduce such malpractice.
According to him, examination malpractice has been a major challenge bedevilling the education sector and must be tackled as quickly as possible, to safeguard the future of children and the nation in general.
“Education will forever remain the best legacy to bequeath to the children and youth of Nasarawa State especially, as well as the only veritable tool of socio-economic development of the state and nation at large.
“I am indeed happy to note that despite the myriad of challenges plaguing the education sector in Nigeria, the council has remained a symbol of success in the promotion of quality education.
“It has also remained a symbol of success in regional cooperation among the English-speaking countries of the sub-region.
“Indeed, our administration has been striving hard to put in place a proper and sustainable foundation for the education sector, by providing qualitative and affordable education to the youth and accommodating the challenges faced by children with special needs in our state,” he said.
The governor stated that his administration would continue to provide an enabling environment for education to thrive, for children in both primary and secondary schools in the state.
He urged parents to participate in the educational development of their wards.
“Having said this, I wish you to also permit me to seize this opportunity to congratulate the management and staff of WAEC on the commissioning of its ultra-modern WAEC Lafia Office Complex.
“It gladdens my heart that the parcel of land my administration bequeathed to the council in 2019 now houses a tastefully built state-of-the-art edifice.
“Similarly, I congratulate the council on the plan of migrating WASSCE for (Private Candidates) to Computer-Based Testing (CBT).
“I am also pleased that your organisation has stood firm for 71 solid years and has continued to evolve in many ways, providing leadership in educational assessment..
“I commend this excellent organisation for its 71 years of exceptional service to the African child and its dedication to developing education in the sub-region,” he said.
According to him, the education sector in the state has experienced a robust improvement in funding, teacher empowerment and equipping learning institutions/facilities.
He added that at inception, one of his administration’s visions was to improve the deteriorating standard of education in the state by turning it into a hub for learning.
The governor noted that he also looked forward to ensuring globally competitive model learning centres and empowering the youth through job and wealth creation.
“The education sector in the state in the past four years has received far above the required 26 per cent yearly budgetary provision as enshrined in the UN/SDGs recommendations without prejudice.
“Apart from building and renovating structures and employing-staff in the state-owned tertiary institutions, there has also been a deliberate effort on the part of government to encourage residents to acquire higher education through scholarship and bursary schemes,” he stated.
In his welcome address, Dr Amos Josiah Dangut, Head of National Office (HNO) reiterated council’s plans to migrate its West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for private candidates, from the ‘Paper Pencil Test’ to the Computer Based Test (CBT) mode, come February 2024.
According to him, the development is in line with global best practices.
“The innovation will commence with WASSCE for Private Candidates, 2024 , First Series, which is slated to hold in February.
“While the objective tests will be fully computer based, the essay and Test of Practical papers, will be hybrid, in which the examination questions will be delivered on screen.
“Accordingly, candidates will be required to write answers on the answer booklets given to them,” he said.
The HNO reassured of the council’s commitment to continue to deliver its mandate of being Africa’s foremost examination body, adding value to the educational goals its stakeholders,
In her opening remarks, the Chairman of the NNC, Hajia Binta Abdulkadir said the council had grown in leaps and bounds over the 71 years of its existence, with ground breaking achievements.
According to her, being a technologically driven examining body, it has continued to evolve in this regard, as it ensures that its services are easily accessible to all.
“The WAEC Request Management Portal and CHATBOT is one of the innovations that the Council has put in place.
It is a real-time online self-service portal that has drastically reduced the physical presence of candidates and the general public at the council’s offices in Nigeria.
“The system allows candidates and the general public to interact with WAEC from the comfort of their homes and access its services without compromising safety measures, among other achievements,” she said.
The chairman said that through combined and dogged efforts of all the stakeholders, the council in Nigeria had
been able to regularise and stabilise the conduct of WASSCE for School Candidates in its normal examination season of May/June successfully.
She noted that WAEC had further strengthened its efforts aimed at combating examination malpractice by synergising with various security agencies.
According to her, these agencies have been assisting with their logistics and intelligence, that has continually led to the arrest of some erring supervisors , invigilators, teachers and students.
The high point of the ceremony was the presentation of the WAEC Endowment Fund Book Prize to the three best schools in the WASSCE for School Candidates, 2022 in Nasarawa.
The endowment fund book prize is to the tune of 5,000 dollars.
Similarly, Miss Chioma Obidigbo from St Paul’s Academy Plateau in Jos, emerged the first prize winner of the National Distinction/Merit award for school candidates 2022.
Obidigbo,who was represented by her parents at the ceremony, scored 8As and is currently studying Biological Sciences at Furman University in the U.S. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Chinyere Nwachukwu/ Oluwole Sogunle