The Rivers State Government has alleged that there is a syndicate within the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) which collects money from some officials to enlist them as supervisors in the on-going examination conducted by the body.
The state Commissioner for Education, Dr. Tamunosisi Gogo-Jaja, who gave the indication while speaking on a radio programme in Port Harcourt monitored by The Tide at the weekend, expressed worry over a new terminology called ‘sign-on fee’ used by those linked to the syndicate to recoup what they have spent by exploiting candidates sitting for the exam.
The commissioner said that the act was being perpetrated by some bad eggs in WAEC with their partners who may be school heads in Rivers State, cautioning that the state government would not allow that to continue.
According to him, “I want to distinguish between examination malpractice and a new terminology that is in town; what they call ‘sign-on fee’. It is crazy! We discovered that they have changed procedure now.”
The commissioner said that he has received several calls from parents on the trend, saying the most recent was a report about a supervisor at Government Secondary School, Elekahia, Port Harcourt, who was collecting N1,000 from each student before they could submit their scripts.
“The chairman of the Rivers State Senior Secondary Schools Board got to Elekahia (last Thursday) and incidentally he got the supervisor who is a teacher in Government Secondary School, Oyigbo.
“I asked her ‘were you nominated to be a supervisor?’ and she said she was not nominated. Since she was not nominated by her principal, she has no business being a supervisor.
“Now, the question is ‘how did you find yourself here’? Her response was that she paid N30, 000 to her vice principal or a teacher in her school who linked her up to somebody.
“I asked where? She became evasive. She said she was linked and somehow, she got an appointment letter from WAEC to become a supervisor.
“Now, all these point to the fact that there are a syndicate. Now, certain persons have been nominated to be supervisors, and because you want to recoup. Because you want to make quick money, all they do is look for some syndicates.
“If you look at the presentation of the woman, I paid N30, 000 to my vice principal who took me to somebody. Now, the syndicate here would have been some of our teachers and some people in WAEC,” he stated.
Gogo-Jaja noted that there were people bent on circumventing procedures, saying “these people are within the system, if you do not investigate properly, it will be difficult to catch up with these people.
“Now, the lady that has been caught will lead us to the principal of her school or the vice principal who will eventually get us to the person who brought in her name in the list of supervisors,” he added.
He further said that the state Ministry of Education, in collaboration with relevant partners, have a major target which is to end examination malpractice, saying “aside the decision of handling public schools, we engaged owners of private schools because you mostly have these miracle centres in private schools.
“Now, the reports that I have been getting since the exam (WAEC) started have been on issues of either you pay before you enter or if you don’t pay, you cannot pass your answer script. Now, this is what they adopted as a ‘sign-on fee’, ranging from N500 or N1,000.
“Because you have paid a syndicate N30, 000, you will find a way to recoup it, not minding the fact that we have stated and warned that if you get involved, you will lose your job, and that is the truth of the matter.”