Over 1.6 million candidates are expected to participate in this year’s West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) scheduled to begin on August 16.
Head of National Office (HNO) of West African Examination Council (WAEC), Patrick Areghan, gave the figure on Sunday in Lagos.
Areghan said the council was working hard towards accommodating some schools still bothering it with late registration.
The HNO said the development was taking its toll on the council’s operations.
He said ahead of the conduct of the 2021 WASSCE, the council was working with relevant stakeholders to ensure a hitch-free examination for school candidates, despite some challenges.
“As I have always said, conducting an examination is not a tea party. It is a huge task and requires the collaboration of all critical stakeholders, including the media.
“It requires a lot of preparations and even more, especially in the face of the rising cases of insecurity and the resurgence of Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
“In conducting this examination, we also want to ensure that the lives of all those involved, including the council’s workers and materials, are properly secure.
“Our arrangement for the successful conduct of our upcoming examination, therefore, is in top gear as we are ensuring that we do not leave any stone unturned,” Areghan said.
The HNO stressed that any examination conduct required money and other resources.
According to him, the entire process of conducting the examination – from printing of examination materials, distributing them and ensuring security to recruitment of ad hoc workers and printing certificates – is a huge financial burden.
Areghan assured all stakeholders that WAEC would continue to do its best to stay afloat.
“It is what the council has been doing, and we want to ensure we continue in that excellent tradition,” he said.
The HNO said West African School Certificate (WASC) was internationally accepted and required protection of its integrity.
“Therefore, in order not allow anything to reduce that standard, we shall be collaborating with the Federal and state ministries of Health and Education as well as the police and other security agencies.
“This is in a bid to ensure that all precautionary measures are in place before, during and after the examination,” Areghan said.
The HNO added that WAEC officials had been meeting to fine-tune strategies that would ensure a hitch-free conduct of the examination.
He urged schools and candidates to get themselves well prepared ahead of the examination, warning that the council would not tolerate any act capable of undermining the integrity of the examination.
“There is no hiding place for cheats. We want to warn schools, students and even supervisors and invigilators that there will be no hiding place for anyone who tries to go against laid-down rules for the conduct of this examination.
“We will surely catch that person, no matter where the malpractice is being carried out.
“We have in-built mechanisms to detect every act of cheating. Cheats, when caught, will not get their results.
“Even if you cheat in our objective test, we will catch you, using technology. This technology is called the Item Deferential Profile. It has been there for quite some time,” Areghan said.