By Clara Egbogota
Asaba, – The Delta State Government has urged the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) not to rest on its oars in evolving more strategies that will drastically reduce the incidence of examination malpractice.
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa gave the advice at the formal opening ceremony of the 60th annual meeting of the council’s Nigeria National Committee (NNC) on Thursday in Asaba.
He emphasised the need for the council to continue to embark on initiatives that would enhance the quality of their service delivery to candidates and other stakeholders.
Okowa, represented by Mr Patrick Ukah, Secretary to the State Government, said that the state would continue to support any initiative embarked upon by WAEC.
“We will support any initiative aimed at improving its services and maintaining the integrity of the certificates it awards to candidates,” he said.
He said that the state would also strive in providing an enabling environment for pupils and students in primary and secondary schools to excel both in character and in learning.
Okowa also urged parents and guardians to participate actively in the educational development of their children and wards.
“Let me also at this juncture, commend WAEC on efforts being made to stem the tide of examination malpractice which has been threatening the entire foundation of our education sector.
“I commend this great organisation for its 70 years of exceptional service to the African Child and its dedication to the development of education in the sub-region.
“One of the visions of my administration was to improve the deteriorating standard of education in the state, by turning it into a hub for learning, creating globally competitive model learning centres in empowering the youth through job and wealth creation.
“This, we have achieved by promoting technical and vocational education.
“Education will forever remain the best legacy to bequeath to the children and youth of Delta State, as well as the only veritable tool of socio-economic development of this state.
“Our administration has been striving hard to put in place proper and sustainable foundation for the education sector by providing qualitative and affordable education as well as accommodating the challenges faced by children with special needs,” he said.
Okowa said that the education sector in the state had experienced a robust improvement in the areas of funding, empowerment of teachers, and equipping of learning institutions/facilities.
He added that the Tertiary Institution Entrepreneur Programme (TEP) was another initiative designed to produce work-ready and self-employed graduates, to mitigate graduate unemployment significantly.
Okowa said that through these and other job and wealth creation programmes for the youth, his administration had been able to create over 100,000 direct jobs and over 1,000,000 indirect jobs.
“Apart from building and renovating structures too in state-owned tertiary institutions, there has been a deliberate effort on my part to encourage Deltans to acquire higher education through scholarship schemes.
“The board in charge offers over seven windows of opportunity for students to access the State Government’s financial support services to further their education,” he said.
Mr Patrick Areghan, WAEC’s Head of National Office (HNO) in his opening remarks, said that the decision to hold the meeting of the NNC in Delta State was made at the 59th meeting of the committee in Ibadan, Oyo.
He said that it was a usual practice since inception to hold the meeting once in a year in rotation among the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“NNC, which is the highest policy making organ of WAEC in Nigeria, ensures that policies of the council in the country are formulated and executed in the best public interest,” he said.
He assured that the council, which had grown in leaps and bounds in the past 70 years, would continue to deliver its mandate of being a world class test body, adding value to the educational goals of its stakeholders.
The Chairman of the NNC, Mrs Binta Abdulkadir, said that the council, being a technologically driven examination body, had continued to evolve in this regard.
She said WAEC had ensured that its services were easily accessible to all, especially as it had perfected its Electronic Certificate Management System (e-CERTMAN), an on-line portal deployed to enable private candidates request for their certificates online.
According to Abdulkadir, the council’s national office has leveraged on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to improve its service delivery to tackle the menace of examination malpractice.
“Recently, the national office of council commissioned its own Digital Security Printing Press, which this committee and WAEC deemed necessary in fulfillment of its mandate.
“This will assist in the development of sound education, ensure educational standards are maintained as well as give the people of West Africa a vision of the great potential which lie beyond examinations, among other benefits.
“WAEC is excited and thrilled to introduce this innovation at a time when the global world has gone digital.
“This further proves that council maintains its vision as a world class examination body,” she stated.
The high point of the occasion was the presentation of merit award to Godswill Edeani, for best overall performance male candidate in public secondary school in all subjects in the 2021 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for school candidates.
He made all ‘As’ in his eight WASSCE subjects.
Edeani, born in 2004, graduated from Airforce Comprehensive School Agbani, Enugu and is currently studying Medicine and Surgery at the University of Nigeria (UNN) Nsukka.
There was also a meritorious award of long service to officers of WAEC at the ceremony.(NAN)