The decision of the West African Examinations Council to ban private school teachers from supervising the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, which commences this week, has generated mixed feelings among experts most of who have suggested that the council should ensure that live monitoring telecommunications gadgets are installed in schools to guard against examination malpractices. Funmi Ogundare reports
In preparation for the commencement of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), organised by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), the council banned private school teachers from supervising the examinations. This is just as the council discovered that supervisors of private schools have been aiding examination malpractice.
As a result, the council had directed state governments to sanction erring private school proprietors and institutions to serve as a deterrent.
The ban on private school teachers however did not go down well with some sections of the society as they said they are being targeted.
The President, Association of Christian Schools in Nigeria, Ekaete Ettang, who briefed journalists in Jos, Plateau State, said the decision of the examination body must be reversed, saying that if WAEC fails to do so, its members will boycott the national examinations.
While reading out a one-page communiquÃ© of a meeting attended by 82 proprietors affected by the decision of WAEC banning their staff from supervising examinations, Ettang said: â€œIn view of the above, the Association of Christian Schools demands that WAEC cancels the order and revert to status quo where credible teachers from Christian schools in Nigeria were involved in the supervision of WAEC examination. Failure to do so, all Christian schools nationwide will withdraw from future WAEC examinations.
â€œIf WAEC does not reverse this decision and planned implementation, all Christian schools will boycott future WAEC examinations.â€
She said the action of WAEC was an indictment on its staff and therefore demanded explanations from the national examination body and the Federal Ministry of Education.
According to her, â€œWAEC and ministries of education must provide statistics to show the trend in the examination malpractices across the schools, which forms the basis of their decision.â€
The president also demanded to know the law which banned its members from participating in the supervision of WAEC examination, pointing out that it was an indictment on the association.
â€œThe Christian schools demand that the laws and legislations that prohibit teachers from Christian schools from supervising WAEC examinations be made available, as they have been participating in this process over the years based on written communication that are on record,â€ she stressed.
Ettang said her members have been of proven character while supervising past examinations and have been up and doing in ensuring that all forms of examination malpractices are curtailed.
In its reaction, WAEC said the ban was on all private schools. The Head of Public Affairs of WAEC Nigeria, Mr. Demianus Ojijeogu, said the council banned all private school teachers from supervising its examinations in the country, irrespective of their religion.
â€œWe have recently uncovered that the said supervisors from private schools do aid exams malpractice because they have nothing to lose. They have no pension or gratuity from their employers, so most of them mainly look for money during national examinations.â€
He affirmed that private schools WAEC supervisors have been found indulging in examination malpractices and directed aggrieved persons to contact the ministry of education for the reason for the ban.
â€œAny WAEC supervisor caught involving in malpractice will be punished, irrespective of the school the person in question is from,â€ he said.
Ojijeogu told THISDAY that the council has put in place the machinery that will ensure the conduct of a credible examination, adding, â€œthe safety of our staff and other ad-hoc personnel and the prevention of examination malpractices is important. There will be continuous monitoring of examination centres throughout the period; we are also working on a timely release of the results.â€
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government and proprietors of private schools have also reached an accord to shut down any school indicted by WAEC for examination malpractice in three consecutive years.
The Deputy Governor, Dr. Oluranti Adebule had expressed her concern about the indictment of schools by WAEC and revealed that some schools are serial offenders whose names appeared on the list of 66, 61 and 56 schools indicted in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively. Such schools, she vowed will not be allowed to register students for this yearâ€™s WASSCE.
Some teachers and private school teachers lauded the move by WAEC to ban private school teachers from supervising its examination, saying that the council could go the extra mile by ensuring that live monitoring telecommunications gadgets are installed in schools to curb examination malpractices.
A teacher, who prefers not to be named, but had witnessed examination malpractice being done in his school in the past, said the move by WAEC will reduce the level of organised malpractices from the private school owners and the parents and also ensure that students sit up because the teachers who aid them to cheat would not be allowed in the exam hall.
He however argued that corrupt WAEC officials will now be happy that money collected from students to aid examination malpractices hitherto being shared between the private school teachers and them will no longer be shared.
He said if the examination body wants to get it right, it should have installed live monitoring telecommunications gadgets in the schools to prevent examination malpractices.
The Director of De Beautiful Beginning (DBB) Private School, Magodo, Lagos, Mrs. Olubukola Ogunleye said: â€œThe government should have measures guiding all schools. If measures are in place and people are being monitored, I am sure our education system will be better.â€