The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has revealed that it plans to introduce the Computer Based Test (CBT) mode in the administration of its examinations are at advanced stage.
This was revealed by the Head of National Office (HNO), Mr Patrick Areghan, who gave the hint in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Lagos.
Areghan was speaking against the backdrop of notable achievements and advancements of the council under his watch, as he prepared to bow out of office on Oct. 1.
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He would be bowing out after completing his three-year tenure.
Areghan said that introducing the CBT mode of administrating some of the council’s examination had been part of his vision for the body in the near future.
”We have already started something in terms of CBT examination. We have gone far with our planning and all of that, even in the sub region, the registrar to council is also doing something.
“But this is not as easy as some people will think. This is because we ask ourselves, how do we conduct CBT for practicals and essay papers?
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“We can only readily do that in the case of objective questions. But so many people will not see it from that angle. They argue that some others are doing it, why can’t WAEC do same.
“Now, no one even talks about energy; how many schools are exposed to computer literacy? How many have computer facilities and how many have electricity to run these things?
“Even where you have all these things on ground, how do you handle the issue of theory and practical papers? So, these are the issues, but that is what I want the council to do in the very near future.
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“We should be able to conduct CBT examinations, even if it means starting with the objective questions,” he said.
ADULAWO NEWS reports that the outgoing WAEC boss noted that already, the council had concluded on introducing the administration of its examination using the CBT platform under his watch, in no distant time, starting with the objective questions and later theory and practicals.
“But you can still be sure that not all schools will be ready. Maybe we can have a segregated market. Those who cannot afford the CBT will go for the pencil and paper mode.
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“So, I will like to see WAEC in that light,” he said.
Areghan said asides the introduction of the CBT, he would also like to see all the operations of the council fully digitalised in the near future.
He noted that almost every section of the council had been digitalised under his watch.
“I have almost digitalised everywhere now. Talk of certificate, checking of results and verification of results and more.
“I will live to see more massive deployment of technology so that the vision of council can change from just being a world class examination body to a technology-driven examination body.
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“I also want WAEC to be more visible in the international stage. I want to see, through the cooperation of the sub region, how we can take WAEC overseas, that is, how Nigerian children in the diaspora can sit for WASSCE overseas.
“That, again, is what I want WAEC to do in the very near future. That is one thing I wanted to do under my watch, but, again like I said, it needs the cooperation of the sub region, not just Nigeria, to take WASSCE overseas.
“I also want to see its digital certificate that we have successfully launched in Nigeria replicated in the entire sub region, so that any candidate that has taken WASSCE, can be in any part of the world to access the digital certificate; that is a legacy.
“For instance, if your certificate gets missing, soaked, destroyed by fire and so on, with one touch on the bottom, it appears.
“For me, this is a great legacy,” the WAEC boss stated.
He also stated that the council’s Digital Security Printing Press is another milestone achievement under his watch.
According to him, after 71 years of council’s existence the introduction of the digital security printing press is a worthy legacy.
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This is alongside other internal ones, such as the Staff Bus scheme, meant to cushion the effect of high transportation fare, occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal, he said.
“We are going to do more to motivate staff. I am counting on my successor to follow suit, being a very committed and intelligent person. It is my prayer that he achieves more than me,” he stated.
Speaking on his greatest achievement, Areghan highlighted the successful conduct of examinations, release of results within stipulated time and printing and release of certificates to deserving candidates as key.
“That is my greatest achievement. That is because when you work in the council and you fail to conduct any examination, no matter the other levels of achievements, you have failed.
“So, I give God all the glory that I have been able to conduct all the examinations, even in the COVID-19 years, from 2020 to 2023,” the outgoing council boss told NAN.