Home Latest News ADDRESS BY WAEC REGISTRAR, DR IYI UWADIAE, AT THE FORMAL OPENING OF THE 65H ANNUAL COUNCIL MEETING IN ABUJA, NIGERIA ON TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2017

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ADDRESS BY WAEC REGISTRAR, DR IYI UWADIAE, AT THE FORMAL OPENING OF THE 65H ANNUAL COUNCIL MEETING IN ABUJA, NIGERIA ON TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2017 PDF Print E-mail

Your Excellency, President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces

of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Honourable Minister of Education

Honourable Ministers of State for Education

Honourable Minister for the Federal capital Territory

The Chairperson of Council

The Vice Chairman of Council

Leaders of Delegation and Chief Government Nominees on Council

Your Excellences, Members of the Diplomatic Corps

Former Chairmen of Council

Former Registrars to Council

Former Heads of National Office

Distinguished Friends of Council

Staff of the Council

Esteemed Guests

Members of the Fourth Estate

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

INTRODUCTION

It is my singular honour and privilege to welcome you all to this august gathering of the stakeholders in education to grace the formal opening of the 65th annual meeting of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).

I have the pleasure of conveying to you felicitations from the entire WAEC family in The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. We appreciate the love, interest and support which you have aptly demonstrated by setting aside pressing personal and official engagements to be with us on this occasion. I wish to express special gratitude to the Chief Host, the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Mohammadu Buhari GCFR, for accepting our humble invitation to attend this ceremony and formally open the 65th Annual Council Meeting. Mr. President, we appreciate your Government for hosting this meeting and for making available to us the facilities required to provide maximum comfort for the delegates and ensure the success of the meeting. Your Excellency, we cannot thank you enough.

I am glad indeed to inform Mr. President and our esteemed guests that the Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory has graciously handed over to us the key to this beautiful city of Abuja. The only way we know to show appreciation for the Minister’s kind gesture is to make maximum use of the key. We are therefore, determined to traverse the nooks and crannies of the Federal Capital territory to visit all the places of cultural and historical importance within. We shall savour the Nigerian special dishes and delicacies and enjoy at source the popular Nigerian music and entertainment varieties. We look forward anxiously for a weeklong uninterrupted taste of the typical African hospitality that is available in abundance in this great African country called Nigeria.

ROTATIONAL PRINCIPLE

Your Excellency, the Annual Council Meeting is held in rotation among the five Member Countries of WAEC. The last time Nigeria hosted was in 2012 when the 60th Meeting took place in this same unity city of Abuja. After that, The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Liberia took their hosting turns in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively. Ghana hosted the meeting in 2016 and it will be the turn of The Gambia to host again come March 2018. This rotational arrangement agreed upon by the Governments of the Member Countries has been held sacrosanct and unbroken for decades up till now, with the exception of a few peculiar instances such as the era of civil strife in Sierra Leone and more recently the era of Ebola scourge in Liberia, which prevented the governments of the affected countries from hosting the Council Meeting within their domains. Even at such instances, the due status, rights and privileges of the scheduled host are conferred and delivered intact.

THE COUNCIL’S EXAMINATIONS

Your Excellency, I am glad to inform this august gathering that after a brief period of disruption of activities by the health crisis and insurgency in some member countries, all the scheduled examinations of the Council were successfully conducted in 2016. Candidates in The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone sat the Council’s international examination, the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), conducted in May/June for school candidates and in November/December for private candidates. Candidates also sat the Council’s national examinations conducted in The Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia. In The Gambia, Ghana and Sierra Leone the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) was conducted while the Junior and Senior High School Certificate Examinations were conducted in Liberia. In addition, candidates were presented for the General Business Certificate Examination (GBCE) and the Advanced Business Certificate Examination (ABCE) in Ghana, the National Primary School Examination (NPSE) in Sierra Leone and the National Assessment Test (NAT) in The Gambia. Also, a number of schools in some francophone West African countries have continued to present candidates for the Council’s examinations.

PATRONAGE

In 2016, the Council’s international examination - the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) – was taken by a total of 2,223,819 candidates made up of 1,887,491 school candidates and 336,328 private candidates in all the Member Countries. Country by country analysis of the total enrolment figure shows that the Council enrolled in The Gambia 15,954 candidates (or 0.72%), in Ghana 402,607 candidates (or 18.10%), in Nigeria 1,729,382 candidates (or 77.77%), in Sierra Leone 65,456 candidates (or 2.94%) and in Liberia the piloting of the examination which was interrupted by Ebola resumed with 10,420 school candidates (or 0.47%).

The Council’s main national examinations were conducted for a total of 878,880 candidates in 2016, out of which 79,015 candidates (or 8.99%) enrolled in The Gambia, 465,576 (or 52.97%) in Ghana, 116,897 (or 13.30%) in Liberia and 217,392 (or 24.74%) in Sierra Leone. Despite the leading role of Nigeria in the establishment and sustenance of WAEC, the country is not taking advantage of the Council’s expertise in the conduct of her national examinations.

In addition, the Council conducted aptitude/selection tests for public and private institutions across the sub-region in 2016.  The test batteries were developed by the Council’s Aptitude Test Development Section of the Research Department.  A total of 32,489 testees sat the tests.  This total figure was made up of 22,869 testees from Ghana, 1,400 from Liberia and 8,220 from Nigeria.

The overall patronage for the Council’s international and national examinations and aptitude tests increased in 2016 by 2.82% with a total candidature of 3,135,188, compared to the total of 3,049,321candidates that sat the examinations in the previous year 2015.

EXAMINATION MALPRACTICE

Your Excellency, examination malpractice remains a major source of distraction for WAEC, as the scourge has persisted in the Member Countries of the Council. The Council has continued to utilise every available means and opportunity to discourage the die-hard perpetrators of the malaise. Appeals have also gone to stakeholders in education, particularly our Member Governments, to partner WAEC more seriously in the fight against the cankerworm, which threatens the quality of academic attainments and manpower production in our sub-region. Misguided candidates ferociously seek for short cuts to examination success while their depraved adult collaborators carry out their damnable acts for financial rewards. The consequences of examination malpractice on educational institutions, especially examining bodies, are grave and worrisome. Apart from the damage done to our image, credibility or reputation, we waste huge chunks of our meagre resources in the fight against the evil.

I have no doubt that the panacea for examination malpractice abound within our society, if we can show sincere commitment to its eradication. Existing government legislations should be enforced or, where necessary, new ones promulgated against examination fraud. Parents should desist from encouraging or sponsoring fraud for their wards, but endeavour to make adequate provisions for them to benefit from the learning process. School authorities and teachers’ associations should halt the era of impunity for their staff and members who engage in examination malpractice. Guidance and Counselling experts should redouble their efforts at building self confidence in school children as part of their preparation for public examinations. Religious institutions should constantly admonish their congregations against involvement in fraud while community leaders should show resentment to the perpetration of examination irregularities in their domains. Equipping of schools and teachers’ welfare should receive priority attention from governments to reduce temptation while the mass media should consistently place the menace of examination malpractice on the agenda for national discourse. If these and a few more measures are put into practice diligently in our sub-region, we would soon step into an era of fraud-free public examinations.

FINANCE

During the year under review, the story about funding of the Council did not change, as both the Headquarters and the National Offices still experienced delays and shortfalls in the payment of contribution and subvention by the Member Governments. Despite this situation, we have reasons to appreciate the Member Governments and their representatives on Council for the trust reposed in WAEC and for giving the Council support, assistance and encouragement in various other forms to offer quality service and remain a giant in educational testing for six and a half decades. We have the hope and expectation of better funding for the Council in the years ahead.

WAEC ENDOWMENT FUND

Your Excellency, during the Council’s 30th anniversary celebrations in March 1982 the WAEC Endowment Fund was inaugurated. The Fund was to, among other functions, promote educational projects of an international nature, provide awards to individuals and institutions for outstanding contribution to the Council’s work and give prizes for outstanding performance by candidates in the Council’s examinations.

At an impressive ceremony held in Accra recently, the WAEC National Distinction Awards were presented to the three best performing school candidates in the WASSCE conducted in 2016 in Ghana. The three candidates received cash and certificates while their schools were presented with plaques. Candidates who take the WASSCE in Ghana are categorised according to programmes - General Arts, General Science, Business, etc., and each year awards are presented to the candidates who top the various programmes at the WASSCE conducted for School Candidates. Both the National Distinction Awards and the Programme Awards have caught the attention of reputable corporate organisations and philanthropic individuals in Ghana, some of whom have donated prizes for the various awards. Each year, since 2014, Universal Merchant Bank, Ghana presents full scholarship for tertiary education in Ghana to the best overall candidate and laptops to all the three best performing candidates. For the 2016 awards, the 1st Prize Winner received from Universal Merchant Bank, Ghana USD1,000 in addition to scholarship, the 2nd Prize Winner received GH₵5,000 (USD1,100) from FirstBanc Financial Services, Ghana and a laptop while the 3rd Prize Winner received USD1,000 and a laptop from Bond Financial Services, Ghana. The candidates with top performance in the various Programmes got Laptops from Kingdom Books and Stationery Limited, Ghana. It is quite encouraging to note that other prospective donors in Ghana have indicated interest to further enhance the awards and support the brilliant students.

Yesterday, the 22nd WAEC Endowment Fund Lecture titled Revamping the Poor Quality of Academic Achievement of Secondary School Students in Science:  The Pivotal Role of West African Examinations Council from a Nigerian Perspective was delivered by an accomplished scholar, Professor Amos Shaibu of the Department of Science Education, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. We congratulate the lecturer on the mastery, erudition and eloquence displayed in the delivery of the lecture.

At today’s ceremony, three candidates will receive the WAEC International Excellence Awards for their outstanding performance in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination conducted for school candidates in 2016.  The candidates are Master Pius Kyere (1st Prize), Master Ayomikun Oluwafisayomi Ayodeji (2nd Prize) and Master Benjamin Bortey Sango (3rd Prize). The three candidates were selected from a total of 1,849,095 candidates who sat the examination in The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria.

The Augustus Bandele Oyediran Award for the Best Candidate in West Africa will also be presented to Master Pius Kyere.

Similarly, the WAEC National Distinction Award will be presented to three candidates for their outstanding performance in the WASSCE for School Candidates, 2016 taken by a total of 1,552,761 candidates in Nigeria. The three candidates are Master Ayomikun Oluwafisayomi Ayodeji (1st Prize), Master Ogheneruno Sydney Okorigba (2nd Prize) and Master Chiemeka David Uwakwe (3rd Prize)

Also, the Augustus Bandele Oyediran Award for the Best Performing School in Nigeria will be given to Lumen Christi International High School, Uromi, while the Omo N’Oba Erediauwa Coronation Trophies will go to the Schools that produced the best male and female candidates in Nigeria.

On this same august occasion, the prestigious award of Distinguished Friend of Council will be conferred on two illustrious citizens of Nigeria, Prof. Babalola Borishade and Prof. Anthony Anwukah, in appreciation of their immeasurable contribution to the success of the work of WAEC and the development of education.

CONCLUSION

Your Excellency, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we are grateful to God for giving WAEC the grace to make positive impact on the lives of its stakeholders. The Council has continued to collaborate successfully with governments and other stakeholders in education to deliver on its mandate of conducting credible and internationally accepted examinations, assisting in the development of sound education, ensuring the maintenance of educational standards and stimulating sustainable national development through capacity building and quality manpower production.

The Council’s survival and achievements since inception could not have been possible without the cooperation and support of the Governments, Members of Council and other stakeholders in the Member Countries. I want to use this occasion to express our profound appreciation to the President and Government of each Member Country for the assistance rendered to the respective National Offices and the Headquarters of the Council. I pledge our irrevocable commitment to the continued provision of service of impeccable quality and our willingness and readiness at all times to actively participate in the implementation of people oriented educational initiatives of the Governments.

I wish to thank the Honourable Ministers of Education and the Permanent Secretaries/Directors General/Chief Directors of Education in the Member Countries for sustaining and strengthening the collaboration between WAEC and their respective ministries/departments/agencies.

I also thank the Principals of secondary schools and their Teachers who work tirelessly as examiners, item writers, moderators, supervisors and invigilators in the various Member Countries to make the hitch-free conduct of WAEC examinations achievable.

I similarly appreciate all the ICT service providers who assist the Council in its continued efforts at deploying ICT in service delivery.

Your Excellency, Honourable Minister of Education, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I appreciate you all for honouring our invitation to this Formal Opening of the 65th Annual Council Meeting.

I thank you most sincerely. May God bless you.

 

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