By Dayo Adesulu
The authorities of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) have received the commendation of Gambian President Mr. Adama Barrow on its fight against examination malpractice in Africa.
He lauded the council.during the 71st Annual Council Meeting of The West African Examinations Council that ended in Banjul, Gambia.
The meeting, which was the first to be hosted in-person since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, was held from Monday, March 13 to Friday, March 17, 2023.
Declaring the meeting open, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of The Gambia, Mr. Adama Barrow, in his keynote address, congratulated WAEC on its 71st anniversary and commended the organisation for its exemplary service to citizens of the member countries noting that among the regional bodies established during the colonial period, the Council is the only body that has weathered the storm of extinction. He then urged WAEC to continue to be relevant to the needs and aspirations of its stakeholders in all the member countries in a technologically fast-changing world. He also lauded WAEC on its efforts in the fight against examination malpractice and called on all stakeholders to join hands to address the menace.
In her speech, the Minister of Basic and Secondary Education, Mrs. Claudiana Cole, alluded to her Ministry’s long history of cooperation and association with the Council which has led to the development of the nation’s human resource base and the emergence of an increasingly informed citizenry. She reiterated the government’s commitment to meeting the funding needs of WAEC in The Gambia.
On her part, the Lord Mayoress of Banjul, Mrs. Rohey Malick Lowe, stated that the Annual Council Meeting demonstrates the belief of the founding fathers of WAEC in the strength that could be derived from regional cooperation and integration and called on all stakeholders to continue to have trust in that spirit of unity.
WAEC Releases 2023-First Series WASSCE Results, Withholds 413 Results
WAEC Suspends Manual Confirmation of Results
WAEC Launches Educational Statistics Platform to Boost Stakeholders Access to Analytical Database
At the formal opening of the meeting, Council honoured three candidates with the WAEC International Excellence Award for their outstanding performance in the WASSCE for School Candidates, 2022. They were Master Alex Opoku Manu, a Ghanaian (1st Prize), Master Benjamin Eyram Nana Kwame Degbey, a Ghanaian (2nd Prize), and Miss Chioma Blessing Obidigbo, a Nigerian (3rd Prize). The three candidates were selected from a total of 2,276,112 candidates who sat the examination in The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. The Augustus Bandele Oyediran Award for the Best Candidate in West Africa, 2022 also went to Master Alex Opoku Manu.
On the same august occasion, the prestigious award of Distinguished Friend of Council was conferred on an eminent citizen of The Gambia – Mr. Karamo S. Bojang – for his outstanding contribution towards the achievement of the Council’s objectives. While the Chief Government Nominee of The Gambia on Council, Mr. Ebrima Sisawo, was elected as Vice Chairman of Council for a one-year tenure. He succeeds Hajia Binta Abdulkadir of Nigeria.
Council, which is WAEC’s governing board, holds its meeting yearly in rotation among the five member countries, namely: The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. The 70th Meeting was hosted in Abuja in 2022 by the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and by the invitation of Sierra Leone’s delegation, the 72nd edition will be hosted by the Government of Sierra Leone in March 2024.
The week-long meeting was attended by delegates from all the member countries. They included nominees of the governments, representatives of ministries/departments of education, universities, secondary schools, and other interest groups. The meeting was preceded by the 28th in the series of the Council’s Annual Endowment Fund Lectures entitled, “Responding to Africa’s Development Challenges Through Transformative Pedagogy: The Role of the 3Hs”. The lecture was delivered by the Vice Chancellor of the University of The Gambia – Prof. Herbert Robinson.
During the meeting, Council received reports on WAEC’s operations over the past year as well as briefings on educational activities and developments in the member countries. Council also ratified the decisions its various committees took in the preceding year and considered action plans from the country offices for successful operations and quality service delivery in the year ahead. For example, Council ratified the 2023-2027 WAEC Strategic Plan and urged Management to leave no stone unturned in its implementation.
Council received with acclamation the Registrar’s Annual Report for the Period April 2022 to March 2023 and a report from the Research Department of WAEC and urged that stakeholders should endeavour to disseminate the research findings to avail policymakers of information necessary for the improvement of education in the sub-region.
Council appreciated the Chief Government Nominees for their reports, commended the respective governments for the new measures introduced and existing ones being sustained to improve access and the quality of education in the member countries, and urged that Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) should be given priority because of its immense benefits as a catalyst for development.
The celebration of WAEC Day which coincided with the Annual Council Meeting was marked on Thursday, March 16, 2023 with the cutting of the 71st Anniversary Cake by the Chairman of Council, Registrar to Council, and all Council Members.
At the end of the week-long meeting, the Chairman of Council, Prof. Ato Essuman, expressed profound gratitude to the governments of the five-member countries for the confidence reposed in WAEC and for providing the enabling environment in which the Council had executed its mandate creditably for 71 years. He thanked the President of the Republic of The Gambia for attending the occasion himself saying that it was unprecedented. He expressed special appreciation to the Governments of Nigeria and The Gambia for their impressive responses to their financial obligations to WAEC.