The West African Examination Council (WAEC) has commended the Rivers State Government in its pragmatic steps towards the eradication of examination mal-practices in public examinations in the state.
WAEC in its 48th Annual Nigeria National Committee meeting in Kaduna recently noted with satisfaction the effort of the state governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, through the Education Ministry to reduce the rate of examination malpractices in the state.
Arguing that it was on record that the number of candidates who registered for WAEC, SSEC in the state dropped from 81,612 in 2009/2010 to just 43,757 and attributed the excess to over registration with the intention of indulging in examination malpractice.
In 2008, according to WAEC, the number of registered candidates was 97,316 as against 81,612 in 2009, while in 2010, this figure further dropped to 43,757.
The council explained that the effort of the state government in tackling exam malpractices was yielding positive results, and advised the state Commissioner for Education, Dame Alice Lawrence Nemi never to be deterred by the activities of kingpins of examination malpractices. It noted that the elimination of external candidates in the last examination by the state Ministry of Education was a step in the right direction.
Commenting on office accommodation provided by the state government to WAEC in the state, the National Council expressed appreciation to the Governor for approving a befitting alternative office accommodation to WAEC in Port Harcourt.
Responding, the state Commissioner for Education, Dame Alice Lawrence Nemi expressed the appreciation of the state government to WAEC’s National Council for appreciating the humble efforts of Governor Amaechi in eradicating examination malpractices in the state, insisting that the present administration had zero tolerance for examination mal-practice.
The Commissioner who was represented by the Director of Secondary Education, Mrs Stella Wigwe advised candidates, principals, supervisors and invigilators to have a re-think in indulging in the social vice, as the state ministry of education would consistently introduce measures that would curtail the menace to the barest minimum. She also advised candidates to imbibe the culture of hardwork and self discipline in their academic pursuits.
Meanwhile, only 20.04 per cent or 62,295 candidates obtained credit pass in English, Mathematics and three other subjects in the Nov./Dec. 2010 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
The Head of the Nigerian National Office of the West African Examination Council (WAEC), Dr Iyi Uwadiae during a press conference yesterday in Lagos said the result was not impressive.
He said 310, 077 candidates sat for the examination while the results of 51,876 of them, representing 16.73 per cent, were withheld for involvement in examination malpractices.
“A total of 133,507 candidates (43.06 per cent) obtained credit and above in English Language, while 151,569 candidates (48.88 per cent) obtained credit and above in Mathematics,” he said.
Uwadiae told journalists that 33 blind candidates took the examination and only 4 of them got credit passes in five subjects including English Language.
Blind candidates, however, are exempted by regulation from registering for Mathematics and science-based subjects.
“All the reports on cases of involvement in examination malpractice have been compiled for presentation to the Nigerian Examination Committee of the Council in March,” he said.
Uwadiae said that the result was released two weeks ahead of schedule to enable students who had secured admissions in higher institutions to register.
He said WAEC would soon modernise its examination model to the e-testing format (electronic test) but noted that the process was at its experimental stage.
“The quick release of the result is due to the commitment of the markers and the effective application of our new computer software for processing results,” he said.
World Bank To Fund $30bn Projects In Nigeria, Others
The World Bank has said it is set to disburse a total of $30billion to fund existing and new projects in Nigeria and other countries as part of a global response to combat the ongoing food security crisis.
According to the bank, it is working with countries on a $12billion new projects fund for the next 15 months.
It said the projects are expected to support agriculture, social protection to cushion the effects of higher food prices, and water and irrigation projects.
It added that most of the funds would go to Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and South Asia.
The global bank disclosed this when it announced how it plans to be part of a comprehensive, global response to the ongoing food security crisis.
It stated that it intends to roll out this fund in existing and new projects in agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water, and irrigation.
It said, “This financing will include efforts to encourage food and fertiliser production, enhance food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.”
World Bank Group President, David Malpass, said, “Food price increases are having devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable.
“To inform and stabilise markets, it is critical that countries make clear statements now of future output increases in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Countries should make concerted efforts to increase the supply of energy and fertilizer, help farmers increase plantings and crop yields, and remove policies that block exports and imports, divert food to biofuel, or encourage unnecessary storage.”
The bank added that its current existing portfolio includes balances of $18.7billion in projects with direct links to food and nutrition security issues, covering agriculture and natural resources, nutrition, social protection, and other sectors.
It stated, “Altogether, this would amount to over $30billion available for implementation to address food insecurity over the next 15 months. This response will draw on the full range of Bank financing instruments and be complemented by analytical work.”
FG Postpones FAAC Meeting Over AGF’s N80bn Probe
The Federal Government has announced the postponement of May, 2022 Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.
The sudden postponement may not be unconnected with the ongoing investigation of the suspended Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, over alleged fraud to the tune of N80billion.
The FAAC meeting is a monthly meeting where the federation allocates monthly revenue among the three tiers of government.
The meeting had earlier been scheduled to hold virtually between May 18 and 19, 2022.
The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said this in a letter signed by Director, Home Finance,Stephen Okon.
The ministry said the meeting was postponed due to “certain circumstances.
“I am directed to inform you that the Federation Account/Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings earlier scheduled to hold/virtually on the 18th and 19th May, 2022 have been postponed due to/certain circumstances,” the circular reads.
“In view of the foregoing, I am to further inform you that the new date for the meetings will be forwarded to you in due course.
“While we regret the inconveniences this change might cause you, please accept the assurances of the Minister’s warm regards,” the letter read in part.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on Monday arrested and detained Idris over an alleged N80billion fraud.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, announced indefinite suspension of Idris, last Wednesday.
Ahmed said the suspension “without pay” was to allow for “proper and unhindered investigation” in line with public service rules.
Nigerian Out-Of-School Children Hit 18.5m
Nigeria has 18.5million out-of-school children (OSC), the highest number in the world, and out of the figure, 10million are girls, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has said.
The Chief of UNICEF Field Office in Kano, Rahama Farah, stated this at a media dialogue on ‘Girls’ Education under the Girls’ Education Project 3, GEP 3’, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and implemented by UNICEF.
“For those lucky to be in school, their condition is also not enviable given the situation of public schools in the country. Only recently, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), said 50per cent of schools in Nigeria lack basic furniture”Farah said.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Hamid Bobboyi, said this in Abuja at a one-day civil society organisations’ CSO-Legislative Roundtable Meeting where some National and State Houses of Assembly members were present.
According to him, emerging constraints in basic education delivery in the country may necessitate an increase in the consolidated revenue funds from the current two per cent to four per cent.
He buttressed his position for an increase in funding on the security challenges bedevilling the country, insisting that rising student population also poses urgent need for teaching facilities.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Basic Education, represented by Senator Frank Ibezim, decried the failure of State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs), to sustain some UBEC-initiated projects such as classrooms and libraries earlier introduced by the commission in all constituencies in the country.
While commending UBEC over the construction of classrooms in schools across the country, he lamented the poor maintenance culture, noting that there is no school in the country that does not have a dilapidated block.
A representative of MacArthur Foundation, Mr Dayo Olaoye, called on stakeholders to review the impact of the country’s annual budget on education, stressing that it was not enough that the country is increasing its budget to the sector.
“As we think about reforms, let us think beyond buildings that have been delivered, let us start thinking about how many children have been brought to school,” he said.
“If classrooms are dilapidated, and there are not enough furniture, what about teachers and the quality of the ones available? The Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, said there are over 300,000 unqualified teachers in the system.
“Education is very important to be left in the hands of quacks and that is why at TRCN, we are stepping up efforts at ridding the system of unqualified hands. We implore teachers and their employers to take advantage of the various windows TRCN is providing to improve the quality of teachers in the country so as to get better results from our education system,” he said.
For the General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Dr Mike Ene, there is need for better funding of the education sector.
He noted that in many states, teachers are overwhelmed by the number of pupils and students they handle.
“In so many states, there is inadequacy of teachers. Some states have not recruited teachers in the last 10 years and yearly, teachers are leaving the system through retirement, resignation or even death. Worse hit by poor staffing are schools in the rural areas. Such schools are called hard-to-staff schools.”
It is in that regard that the welfare packages announced by the Federal Government are very much necessary,” he said.
Also speaking on the issue, the National President of the National Association of Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, decried the manner some state governments are implementing the Basic Education Policy of the government whereby pupils and students in primary and junior secondary schools are to enjoy free education and are given textbooks in some core subjects.
“Some states are not doing well in that respect. They have abandoned the programme. They are not funding education as it ought to be funded. Even counterpart funds that some states should put down to complement the funds from UBEC are not provided. Some states have even misused UBEC funds and are suspended from getting further grants.
“We are talking now about our tertiary institutions that are grounded by workers’ strikes, the basic education level, which is the foundation, is not faring better too. Something urgent must be done to redress the situation before the sector collapses finally,” he noted.
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