The Head of the Nigeria National Office (HNO) of the West African Examination Council (WAEC), Mr. Patrick E. Areghan, on Tuesday, said that more money than what was originally budgeted for is required for the conduct of the year 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for school candidates vis a vis the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
Areghan, who spoke while briefing newsmen in Lagos on the conduct of WASSCE for school candidates, made known that a total of 1,549,463 candidates including 786,421 males and 763,042 females from 19,129 schools have registered for the examination scheduled to hold between August 3rd and September 5th, 2020.
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He also said that because the council would adhere strictly to social/physical distancing in the examination halls, more classrooms will be used and more supervisors and invigilators will be required to conduct the examination.
According to Areghan, about 23,250 supervisors will be needed for the conduct of the examination as against the over 10,667 being used before now.
This, he said, has raised the supervision fee to be paid as well as the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to staff, supervisors and other examination officials.
Arehhan said: “We used to have one supervisor to 299 candidates.
“But now, we are going to have one supervisor to 150 candidates in order to maintain social distancing.
“Other costs include fumigation of offices, cost of movement of materials and printing of codes among others.
“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?”
He, therefore, appealed to the governments at various levels to come to the council’s aid and called on multi-national companies, corporate organisations and philanthropic individuals to donate PPE to the council, noting that it was essential for all examination functionaries to be well kitted to avoid the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
“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,” he appealed.
Warning against examination malpractices
While he noted that the examination is going to be conducted under an unfriendly atmosphere and condition, he warned all schools and candidates to shun any form of examination malpractice, saying lack of preparedness was not an excuse to cheat.
“Do not delude yourself by thinking that they will be lowered due to the prevailing circumstances.
“It would be a double tragedy for any candidates to write the examination under very difficult circumstances and not have any result,” he admonished.
Ahead of the conduct of the examination, the HNO emphasized that 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 also be required to wear face masks, wash and sanitize their hands daily and throughout the duration of the examination, he added.
It would be recalled that the examination was earlier scheduled to hold between April 6 and June 5, 2020, but was postponed due to the ravaging coronavirus pandemic.
The new date, according to Areghan, was not arbitrarily set, noting that WAEC consulted extensively with the governments of all the five-member countries before arriving at the period and duration of the examination.
Results and Certificates of the examination, according to Areghan, would be ready 45 and 90 days respectively after the conduct of the examination.