Gabriel Dike, Lagos
The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) on Tuesday revealed that about 1, 549, 463million candidates are expected to write the May/June 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) scheduled to start first week of August nationwide and in three countries.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos on the conduct of the 2020 WASSCE, the Head of the Nigeria National Office of WAEC, Mr. Patrick Areghan said the examination will now hold between 3rd August and 5th September, 2020, covering a space of five weeks.
”There is a novel development in this arrangement in the sense that the examination would be held from Monday through Saturday, in order to be able to achieve the five-week span, ” he stated.
According to him, the school candidates examination was earlier scheduled to hold between the 6th of April and 5th of June, 2020, but had to be postponed due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.
He warned the 1, 549,463million candidates and the 19,129 schools involve in the examination to make provision for face mask as no candidate will be allowed into the exam hall without face mask.
Areghan revealed that the candidates are expected to write 76 subjects consisting of over 200 exam papers insisted within the five weeks and assured the candidates that the results will be released within the stipulated period to enable them use it for admission.
He said: ”A total of 1,549, 463million candidates have registered for the diet from 19,129 schools out of which 786,421 are males and 763,042 are females. The choice of the period (August 3rd to September 5th, 2020) for the conduct of the examination was not arbitrarily set. WAEC consulted extensively with the governments of all the five member countries before arriving at the period and duration of the examination.
”In deference to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the five-week arrangement was arrived at in order to make room for the other examining bodies to equally conduct their examinations in good time. The shortening of the period is also of advantage in terms of reducing the period of mass social interaction with its attendant consequences.
”In conducting the examination, we have taken due cognizance of the various measures/protocols rolled out by the federal and state governments of Nigeria, aimed at checking the spread of the pandemic. We have encapsulated all these measures in a pamphlet which will be circulated to all stakeholders for their necessary guidance.
”For the sake of emphasis, schools must provide wash-hand buckets with running water, soaps, hand sanitizers and thermometer hand-gun to check the temperature of all concerned. All examination functionaries, including the Council’s staff on distribution; supervisors; invigilators, inspectors; candidates and school officials will be required to wear face masks, wash and sanitize their hands daily and throughout the duration of the examination.”
The WAEC boss assured the candidates and the general public that the Council will adhere strictly to social/physical distancing in the examination halls by ensuring that candidates sit two metres apart, thus more classrooms will be used and many more supervisors and invigilators will be required to conduct the examination.
He said the situation has certainly raised the supervision fee to be paid to supervisors as well as the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to staff, supervisors and other examination officials, adding ”no doubt, all these measures have financial implications which were not contemplated at the time of drawing up the budget for the conduct of the examination. The big question looming now is how can this extra fund be raised”?
Areghan made a passionate appeal to the governments at various levels to come the aid of WAEC and also called on multi-national companies, corporate organizations and philanthropic individuals to donate these PPE to the Council, stressing that it is essential that all examination functionaries are well kitted to avoid the spread of the disease.
The HNO also used the opportunity to escalate its challenge to the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 and requested for possible assistance. He urged the various state governments to donate the required PPE to the WAEC offices in their states.
”This examination is going to be conducted under a very unfriendly atmosphere and conditions. I will like to use this opportunity to advise all schools and candidates to make the best use of the situation in order to turn adversity into success, ” Areghan advised.
He warned schools and candidates to shun any form of examination malpractice, adding ”lack of preparedness is not an excuse to cheat. For the benefit of doubt, standards already set remain sacrosanct. Do not delude yourself by thinking that they will be lowered due to the prevailing circumstances. Therefore, as usual, you get what you deserve. It will be a double tragedy for any candidate to write the examination under very difficult circumstances and not to have any result.”
The HNO advised schools and candidates to resist the temptation of patronizing dubious websites that claim or would claim to have examination questions at their disposal and described them as fake and conscienceless destiny destroyers.