Concerns as states, schools scramble to meet WASSCE registration deadline

The registration deadline for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for school candidates is tomorrow. However, the West African Examination, Council (WAEC) is concerned about the slow pace of registration.

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has had a tough time fixing a timetable for the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) since the COVID-19 pandemic caused school disruptions two years ago.

Getting back to the regular belt for taking the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for school candidates has been challenging.  In 2020, when schools were shut for about six months due to the pandemic, the examination eventually held in October instead of March/April.

Last year, WAEC had difficulties scheduling the examination as well because the disruptions caused by the pandemic to the 2019/2020 calendar spilled over to the 2020/2021 calendar.  Not all schools were on the same page.  While some schools were in second term, some were still completing first term work.The examination held August 16-September 30, 2021.

While schools across the country have largely returned to the normal September-August sessional calendar, the conduct of this year’s WASSCE for SS3 school candidates is already causing concern for the examination body because of late registration.

During a press briefing last week, WAEC’s Head of National Office, Mr. Patrick Areghan, lamented that state governments and private schools were delaying registration.

He said less than 300,000 SS3 candidates had registered for the examination as at last week, which he said was cause for concern given that Nigeria presents close to 1.5 million for the examination yearly.

“As at Friday, we have not got up to 300,000 registered candidates and we are going to about 1.3 million to 1.6 million.

“One of the problems of WAEC is non-adherence to the registration deadline. And you need to wait till the end of registration to start the pre-examination, the examination and the post-examination processes,” he said.

Areghan accused private schools of not concluding registration on time because they were “still shopping for candidates” to boost their numbers.  He also said some state governments that pay WASSCE fees for SS3 pupils in public schools were also lagging behind.

“Even the government schools are not helping matters. Some state governments pay for their candidates. Up till now, most of them have not started the process. Some are saying they are conducting mock examination, doing screening; some are saying they are doing clearance.

“How long does it take to do all these? Are the other countries going to wait for us? The private schools are busy shopping for candidates. That is the main reason on the part of the private schools. For the government schools, you give them a deadline and they want to do it in their own time. But they cannot do it in their own time. We have our own time,” he said.

The Council has had to extend the registration deadline multiple times since registration opened December 6, 2021. The latest deadline, February 25, is tomorrow.

When The Nation checked with private schools and ministries of education in some states of the federation, many claimed to have concluded registration, while others said they would conclude before the deadline.

In Kaduna, the state government said it was working round the clock to beat the Friday deadline for the closure of West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), registration deadline.

The state government admitted that it was facing challenges with the registration process, it was on top of the situation and will ensure that every eligible candidate for the examination does not miss the chance to write the examination.

Overseer of Kaduna State Schools Quality Assurance Authority, Aliyu Idris told The Nation in a telephone interview that, the state is paying for WASSCE for its SS3 students for the first time, hence the teething problems experienced.

He, however, said, the authority was working  with the zonal office of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) towards ensuring a smooth registration exercise.

According to Idris, “Kaduna is paying for WASSCE for the first time. Before now, we were paying for only NECO, but this year, we are paying for both WASSCE and NECO. The very best of the students are being registered for WASSCE, while those in the next category are being registered for NECO.

“Though, merit is not the only consideration, the indigent students are also being considered, that is those who are equally good but their parents cannot afford to pay for the examination.

“So, that is why we have some challenges, which is usually associated with anything you are doing for the first time. But, I am sure WAEC appreciates our challenges and we are working with WAEC office here  to overcome the challenges, “ Idris said.

The Nation gathered that, Kaduna State Government use to register only students who passed mock examination for NECO, while those who failed to make the five credit requirement for the mock examination were left to pay for the SSCE examinations on their own.

Speaking specifically on the Friday deadline set by WAEC for the WASSCE registration, the Schools Quality Assurance Authority’s Overseer said, all hands were on deck to ensure that  school principals finalise their school’s registration by Thursday, for validation and final submission to WAEC on Friday.

He said: “I am meeting all the principals of schools in Zone 1 in Zaria tomorrow (Tuesday) on the same matter. On Wednesday, I will be meeting those of Zone 2 and Zone 3 in Kaduna and by Thursday, all of them are expected to have concluded the registration. So, by Friday, we will be submitting to WAEC. We are working to ensure that, no eligible candidate misses the opportunity to write the examination.”

On the part of the private school, the registration for WASSCE examination has been a smooth sail, as most of them who spoke without correspondent said, they have registered almost 100 per cent of their eligible candidates.

Chairman of the Private Schools Proprietors Association, Ja’afaru Yusuf told The Nation that none of their members had registered any complaint about their inability to register for the examination.


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