ADDRESS BY MR. PATRICK E. AREGHAN, FCGP HEAD OF THE NIGERIA NATIONAL OFFICE OF THE WEST AFRICAN EXAMINATIONS COUNCIL (WAEC), AT A PRESS BRIEFING ON THE CONDUCT OF THE WASSCE FOR SCHOOL CANDIDATES, 2020 HELD ON TUESDAY, JULY 7, 2020 AT THE WAEC NATIONAL OFFICE, YABA, LAGOS
Gentlemen of the media, on behalf of the Registrar to Council, the Management and Staff of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Nigeria, I am delighted to welcome you to this press briefing, my first with you since assuming office as the Head of the Nigeria National Office of WAEC. We have invited you here today to acquaint you with our preparations and readiness for the conduct of the much-awaited WASSCE for School Candidates, 2020.
As you are aware, the examination was earlier scheduled to take place between the 6th of April and 5th of June, 2020, but had to be postponed due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The examination will now hold between 3rd August and 5th September, 2020, covering a space of five (5) 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. A total of One Million Five Hundred and Forty Nine Thousand Four Hundred and Sixty Three (1,549, 463) 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.
During the waiting period, we continued to fine tune and perfect all arrangements for the smooth and successful conduct of the examination and I am happy to inform you that we are set to conduct the examination in Nigeria.
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.
Let me assure you and the general public that we shall adhere strictly to social/physical distancing in the examination halls by making sure that candidates sit two (2) metres apart. This means that many more classrooms will be used and many more supervisors and invigilators will be required to conduct the examination. This 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. 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?
On this note, therefore, we are appealing to the governments at various levels to come to our aid. We equally call on Multi-National companies, corporate organizations and philanthropic individuals to donate these PPE to us. It is essential that all examination functionaries are well kitted to avoid the spread of the disease. May I also use this medium to escalate our challenge to the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 and to humbly request for any possible assistance. WAEC has Zonal and Branch Offices all over the Federation. The various state governments can donate the required PPE to the WAEC offices in their states.
Gentlemen of the media, these are no normal times. 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.
I must not fail to warn all schools and candidates to shun any form of examination malpractice. 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.
Schools and candidates must resist the temptation of patronizing dubious websites that claim or would claim to have examination questions at their disposal. We cannot claim not to know that they are right now strategizing on their evil machinations. They are fake and conscienceless destiny destroyers. Self-reliance is the sure key to success.
The Final International Timetable has been sent to all the WAEC Zonal and Branch Offices for onward dispatch to schools and Federal and State Ministries of Education.
Finally, Gentlemen of the media, I want to thank you once again for honouring our invitation to this Press Briefing.
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