Some days ago, the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYF) called for the rejection of the new model.
The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) said on Monday that it did not announce the adoption of the Computer-Based Testing model for the conduct of the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) for school candidates.
The examination body said it only announced the CBT model for private candidates starting 31 January.
This was contained in a statement by WAEC’s Acting Head of Public Affairs, Moyosola Adesina.
Mrs Adesina said the clarification became necessary due to reports that the examination body planned to implement the model for the school candidates, and the accompanying criticisms.
WAEC had in November announced that the CBT model would be used for private candidates taking the examinations in 2024.
Some days ago, the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYF), a northern Nigerian pressure group, called for the rejection of the new model.
The group said in a statement by its president, Yerima Shettima, that the new model would result in mass failure for students, especially those in rural areas and who have little or no computer skills.
It suggested that the CBT exams should have been optional, allowing candidates to choose between the pen and pencil format and the computer-based model.
In reaction to the criticisms, WAEC said on Monday that the agitation for the rejection of the CB-WASSCE was in response to an earlier media report in which the examination body purportedly announced that it had ditched the Paper and Pencil Testing model and had adopted the Computer Based Testing model for the conduct of the School Candidates’ Examination.
The body described the narrative as false and misleading.
The statement reads in part: “The attention of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has been drawn to a media report stating that a youth forum has called for the rejection of the planned Computer Based West African Senior School Certificate Examination (CB-WASSCE) for Private Candidates – FirstSeries, 2024. The said examination is to be conducted by WAEC Nigeria and is scheduled to hold between 31 January and 17 February 2024.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the West African Examinations Council hereby states unequivocally, that it had never announced the adoption of the Computer Based Testing model for the conduct of the WASSCE for School Candidates, 2024.”
The statement added that the Head of National Office, WAEC Nigeria, Amos Dangut, had also clarified in an interview with the Punch Newspaper that the Computer Based Testing model would not be applied to the WASSCE for school candidates just yet.
WAEC said there is still a lot to be done to equip schools with the needed infrastructure, resources, and adequately train manpower to engage and cooperate with WAEC for the conduct of CB-WASSCE for candidates.
“He also clarified that the introduction of CB-WASSCE is currently exclusive to the First Series of the Private Candidates’ examination which, since its inception, has been conducted in urban areas,” the statement said.
The statement added that WAEC has on several platforms, outlined the mode for taking the upcoming CB-WASSCE and put measures in place to ensure that candidates, the examination environment, and the general public are adequately sensitised on the requirements and outlay for the examination.
“Candidates are hereby reminded that all Multiple Choice (Objective) questions would be delivered (posted) and answered on computer while Essay (Theory and Practical) questions would be delivered (posted) on screen, for candidates to answer questions of their choice in provided Answer Booklets,” it added.
WAEC said it would conduct a trial test and a free mock examination at designated platforms for prospective candidates, “whether secondary school students or out-of-school individuals, to familiarise themselves with the testing environment” before the commencement of the actual examinations.
“Notification for the mock examination will be sent to prospective candidates through their emails. Announcements for the scheduled mock examination will also be made through mainstream and new media. In addition, candidates are also advised to visit WAEC Nigeria’s website and social media spaces for relevant information and guidelines on how to navigate the CB-WASSCE platform,” the statement reads.
WAEC added that it has engaged the services of CBT centres across the country, and checked their suitability to host candidates for the CB-WASSCE, throughout its duration.
“Some candidates will be assigned to sit the examination at designated WAEC Branch and Zonal Offices, for administrative purposes,” it said.
“As an organisation that prioritises excellence, innovation, and professionalism as its core values, the general public can be assured that WAEC would not compromise its standard on quality assessment and global best practices, to ensure the smooth conduct of the WASSCE for Private Candidates – First Series, 2024.”