Kuni Tyessi writes that the National Examinations Council has helped identify trends and areas for improvement in the education sector, and one which is arguably the most important in recent times is the introduction of the e-verification portal for accessing results
At the beginning of 2023, the National Examinations Council (NECO) established the e-verification portal. This avenue is an express gate to results verification and processing worldwide. It has ended the dark days by which results could only be accessed after its manual collation, all thanks to the technological age.
Years into its establishment, the modus operandi was for results to be placed on notice boards at NECO offices and schools for all to see. This was usually to the dismay of candidates who had written the exams and craved privacy. This practice had little or no respect for individuality, one of the cardinals of respect for fundamental human rights. Above all, it created room for all forms of malpractice and indiscipline. For those outside the country, access to the results became burdensome and almost impossible, with huge sums of money compulsorily parting ways with students who had left the country searching for greener pastures.
This is not forgetting that the establishment of the NECO in April 1999 is a culmination of the reaction of the federal government to widespread escalating agitations for a national examination outfit that would be responsive to the Nigerian needs and demands, as well as cope with the annually increasing number of candidates that register for WAEC. With the mandate to conduct placement of examinations in the form of learning assessments for Nigerian students, NECO, under the present dispensation, has not rested on its oars in consolidating past results.
Worthy of note and mention is that NECO conducts various transiting exams and these include the National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE), Gifted Examination into Federal Academy, Suleja, and Junior Secondary Certificate Examination (JSCE), amongst others.
With its test run and first results in 2000, it is arguably a rival body to the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).
In announcing its ability to upgrade the checking of results from manual to digital through its Registrar and Chief Executive, Prof. Dantani Wushishi, particularly that of its internal and external SSCE examinations, which is compulsorily needed at every point of academic upgrading and to a large extent, the search for jobs, promotion and other human endeavour that surrounds growth; Nigerians within and outside the country can now breathe a sigh of relief in accessing their results through the council’s portal without necessarily travelling to its offices or waiting for schools to paste the results.
By so doing, this giant stride has cushioned the effect of hardship on candidates regarding travelling and transportation costs, as well as road risks and insecurity, which have been the bane of the nation’s development in recent times. Also, Prof. Wushishi introduced stanine software in determining grade boundaries for BECE, SSCE internal and SSCE external examinations, which is an innovation in the history of NECO. This brings to rest the use of manual methods in determining grade boundaries.
The registrar said, “It is an irrefutable fact that academic institutions and employers of labour, among other agencies, rely on verification of results to help them select the best prospective student for admission and employment purposes. The NECO e-Verify is an online result verification solution that guarantees instant authentication of academics and basic information about prospective candidate information and employment into academic institutions and workplaces, respectively.”
With a tenure that has continued to consolidate the progress made so far, NECO, under the leadership of Wushishi, has continued to ensure the integrity and quality of examinations with the help of secured and standardised procedures while maintaining fairness and transparency as well as data collection on students’ performance over the years. Due to the growing need for verification and confirmation of results by institutions at home and abroad, the council decided that now was the best time to introduce the e-verify platform.
According to the register during the unveiling of the portal in Abuja, 64 institutions across 37 countries in two years had made demands of results from the council.
He said, “From available records at our disposal, we have discovered that there were requests for verification and confirmation of results from 64 institutions across 37 countries over a two-year period. Similarly, we have requests from 72 institutions in Nigeria within the same period – this is besides requests from individuals, which are numerous.
“It is an important process that helps to ensure the accuracy of academic credentials. By verifying the authenticity of candidates’ results, academic institutions and employers will be more confident that they are admitting and hiring persons who have the required qualification for further studies and specific job schedules.”
Other factors that have added to the plus made so far with using the verification portal include increased confidence, reduced risk and improved efficiency.
It is against this backdrop that the National Examinations Council, as part of its efforts to meet global standards, has found it necessary to deploy cutting-edge technology to improve candidates’ experiences as they seek to advance their educational pursuits. This great and enviable feat will no doubt bring much relief to millions of candidates.