The Nigeria Examinations Committee (NEC) of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has lamented the dearth of teaching staff in schools, just as it also called on state governments and proprietors of private schools to procure detectors to prevent candidates from smuggling in mobile handsets into examination halls.
This was disclosed at the 56th meeting of Nigeria Examinations Committee (NEC) of WAEC held for three days at Excellence Hotel and Conference Centre, Ogba, Lagos.
The Committee expressed deep concern about the dearth of teaching staff in schools all over the country and called on government to urgently institute measures, such as offering special incentives, in order to attract the youth to read education-based courses in universities, particularly Mathematics Education.
Besides, it also called for appreciable improvement in the reward system for teachers nationwide, in order to motivate them to put in their best.
In its concern to revamp standard of education in Nigeria, the Committee implored state governments and other stakeholders in the education sector to consciously strive to elevate the standard of education in the country and re-double efforts in providing adequate infrastructure, manpower and teaching aids which would facilitate proper teaching and learning and the preparation of students for WAEC examinations.
They also noted the usefulness of the reports and emphasised the need for all ministries of education, All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) and schools’ authorities to ensure that teachers make adequate use of the Reports in preparing students for the WASSCE.
Meanwhile, in view of the increased use of mobile handsets by candidates during examinations, the Committee directed the Council to make it mandatory for governments to procure serviceable metal detectors for public schools and proprietors of private schools to procure same for their schools, so as to prevent candidates from smuggling in mobile handsets into examination halls.
The Committee, which meets twice a year to consider matters related to the conduct of the May/June and November/December West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE),is the highest policy-making organ of WAEC on examination-related matters in Nigeria.
Members, while commending the quality of the Reports which, they observed, were better than previous ones, noted the information that, with effect from the registration period for the May/June 2014 WASSCE, the Chief Examiners’ Reports will be available in CD format only.
Membership of the Committee comprises representatives of State Ministries of Education, the All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) and the universities.
It also includes the Registrar to Council, the Head of the Nigeria National Office, the Head of the Test Development Division (TDD) and the Head of the Test Administration Division (TAD) of the Council.
During the 56th Meeting, members received a report on Special Irregularity and Clemency cases in the November/December 2012 WASSCE, earlier considered at the 55th Meeting of the Committee.
They also considered a report on the conduct of the May/June 2013 WASSCE, as well as Irregularity Cases arising from the conduct of the examination.
Moreover, they considered Special Cases, Clemency Cases, Late Cases, Restitution, Petitions and Cases Referred for Further Investigation from Previous Examinations.
The Committee also received a report on the Statistics of Entries and Results for the November/December 2012 WASSCE, General Résumé of the Chief Examiners’ Reports on the May/June 2013 WASSCE, considered a paper on the appointment of new/substitute Chief Examiners and Moderators and received reports on the Activities of the Aptitude Tests Department (ATD), from May to September, 2013; and on the Activities of the Research Department of the Council.
Members noted the report on how persistent insecurity in some parts of the country, particularly in the North East, had adversely affected the conduct of the Council’s examinations and noted the report on the efforts of the Management of the Council to reach the highest echelons of authority in the nation, in order to safeguard staff on examination duty.
Thereafter, members observed a minute’s silence in honour of three staff of the Council who were dastardly killed by insurgents in Borno State while on official duty during the conduct of the May/June 2013 WASSCE.
In considering the general résumé of the Chief Examiners’ Reports on the May/June 2013 WASSCE, members noted the observations that the standard of the papers compared favourably with those of previous years, that the questions were properly framed, unambiguous and within the scope of the syllabus and that the marking schemes were comprehensive and the marks properly distributed.
On candidates’ performance, members noted the observation that performance was good in Financial Accounting and Typewriting and better than in recent years in many subjects, including Igbo, Yoruba, Economics, Government, History, Music 1A & B, Visual Art 2, Agricultural Science 1 & 2, Biology 2, Chemistry 1 & 2, Health Science 2, Physical Education1, Electronics 1 & 2, General Mathematics, Clothing & Textiles, Foods & Nutrition, Home Management, Building Construction, Technical Drawing and Woodwork.
Performance was also said to be fair in French 1c, Islamic Studies, Hausa and Commerce, but declined in English Language, CRK, Geography 1B & 2, Visual Art 1, Biology 1, Physical Education 2, Physics 1A & B, Physics 2, Further Mathematics, Applied Elect. 1, Auto Mech 2, Metal Work 1 & 2, Tech. Drawing 1 and Woodwork 2 and poor in Lit-in-English 2 & 3.
The Committee noted some of the strengths of candidates which were mentioned and which included, adherence to rubrics in some subjects, improved writing and communication skills in others, appreciable display of the skills required for performing tasks in some practical subjects, mastery of certain aspects in various subjects, such as proper definition of terms and identification of given specimens in science subjects, good understanding of experimental procedures in Chemistry 1A & B, simplification of fractions in General Mathematics, and ability to interpret drawings in Metal work and Woodwork I.
Members also noted the weaknesses of candidates mentioned, which included, providing sketchy notes to questions which required more extensive explanations, inability to spell technical words correctly, poor mastery of the English Language; poor handwriting, which made the reading of the responses difficult; poor graphs/diagrams, inability to present answers to the required degree of accuracy, as noticed in General Mathematics and shallow knowledge of the set texts which was evident in the sketchy answers presented.
Furthermore, members noted the remedies suggested which included urging candidates to:
(1) learn the basic grammatical rules of the English Language as well as other languages which are examined;
(2)read the rubrics and ensure that they understand the questions before attempting them;
(3)engage in practice sessions in activities related to their subjects;
(4)cultivate the habit of reading widely with a view to improving their vocabulary;
(5)endeavour to cover the syllabuses for the subjects they wish to sit before the commencement of examinations;
(6)procure and read the prescribed texts in the various subjects rather than rely on commentaries or ‘key points’;
(7)learn the basic principles and concepts in the various subjects and apply them to solving simple everyday problems;
(8)strive to write legibly;
(9)label diagrams correctly;
(10)ensure that terms associated with the various subjects are correctly spelt.
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