According to the West African Examinations Council, preparations are well advanced to implement the Computer Based Test modality for administering its exams.
The suggestion was revealed on Saturday in a Lagos interview with the News Agency of Nigeria by Mr. Patrick Areghan, Head of National Office.
As he is about to leave office on October 1, Areghan was speaking in light of the council’s noteworthy successes and developments during his leadership.
He was going to be stepping down after his three-year term.
Areghan stated that part of his plan for the council included implementing the CBT method of administering parts of the exams.
"With regard to the CBT exam, we have already commenced. We have made great progress with our strategy, and in addition, the registrar of the council is taking action throughout the sub-region.
However, this is more difficult than some people may believe. This is a result of the question we pose to ourselves: How can we apply CBT to practicals and essay papers?
We are only able to do that with ease when dealing with objective questions. However, a great deal of people will not view it that way. Some contend that since other people are doing it, WAEC ought to be able to follow suit.
These days, not even energy is discussed; how many schools teach computer literacy? How many people have access to computers and electricity for these things?
"How do you tackle the issue of theory and practical papers even when you have all these things in place? These are the issues, and I would like the council to take action on them as soon as possible.
“Even if it means starting with the objective questions, we should be able to conduct CBT examinations,” he declared.
The departing WAEC head stated that the council has already finished introducing the CBT platform for the examination’s administration under his direction, beginning with the objective questions and moving on to theory and practicals.
However, you can still be certain that some schools won’t be prepared. Maybe a market that is separated is possible. The pencil and paper method will be used by those who cannot pay the CBT.
Thus, he stated, “I would like to see WAEC in that light.”
Areghan stated that in addition to the CBT’s launch, he hopes to see the council’s entire activities soon completely digitalized.
Under his leadership, he pointed out, the council had virtually fully gone digital.
These days, practically everything is digital for me. Discuss about the certificate, results verification, result checking, and more.
“I hope to see even greater widespread adoption of technology, enabling the council to transition from being a top-tier examining body to a technologically advanced examining body.”
"I also hope that WAEC will be increasingly well-known outside. My goal is to determine how we can take WAEC—that is, how Nigerian youngsters living abroad can sit for the WASSCE—across the sub-region with cooperation.
"Once more, I want WAEC to accomplish it very soon. That is one thing I wanted to oversee, but as I mentioned earlier, WASSCE cannot be taken worldwide without the support of the entire subregion, not just Nigeria.
"As a legacy, I would also like to see the digital certificate that we successfully introduced in Nigeria distributed throughout the entire sub-region to all candidates who have taken the WASSCE, regardless of where they are in the world.
For example, if your certificate is lost, wet, burned, etc., all it takes is a single tap on the bottom to make it show.
The head of WAEC said, “This is a great legacy for me.”
In addition, he said that another significant accomplishment under his direction is the council’s Digital Security Printing Press.
He believes that the adoption of the digital security printing press, after the council’s 71-year history, is a deserving legacy.
In addition, he mentioned additional internal initiatives like the Staff Bus program, which is designed to mitigate the impact of increased transportation costs resulting from the elimination of fuel subsidies.
"More will be done to inspire employees. I am confident that my successor, who is a highly dedicated and capable individual, will do likewise. “I pray that he accomplishes more than I do,” he said.
When asked about his biggest accomplishment, Areghan emphasized that the smooth running of the exams, the timely release of the results, and the printing and distribution of certificates to worthy applicants were all crucial.
That is the best thing I have ever done. This is because, regardless of your other accomplishments, you have failed as a council employee if you are unable to conduct any examinations.
The departing council head told NAN, “I give God all the glory that I have been able to conduct all the examinations, even in the COVID-19 years, from 2020 to 2023.”