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2024 WASSCE: No going back on CBT for private candidates – WAEC

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The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) says there is no going back on  conducting its first ever Computer Based Test (CBT) of its WASSCE for private candidates.

The council’s Head of National Office (HNO) Dr Amos Josiah Dangut stated this at a media parley on Monday in Lagos.

According to him, arrangements for the conduct of the 2024 West African Senior School Certificate  Examination (WASSCE) first series for private candidates,  using the first ever CBT model have been concluded.

“We are here to give you an insight of the level of preparations so far, for the conduct of this maiden CBT examination.

“The council  is aware that the news of this innovation was initially greeted with some level of resistance. This only served as fuel for the test body to forge ahead on its course to conduct the CB-WASSCE.

The conduct of the Computer Based West African Senior School Certificate Examination (CB-WASSCE) for Private Candidates, 2024 First Series, will take place from Wednesday, Jan. 31 and end on Saturday, Feb. 17, in Nigeria.

“This will span a period of two weeks and four days and to this end, there is no going back as plans  have therefore,  been concluded for this first-ever computer-based examination, which will be delivered in hybrid mode,” he said.

The HNO noted that WAEC Nigeria, in keeping with its vision of being a world-class examining body and its core value of innovation, had taken the bold step to offer candidates a viable alternative to the Pen and Paper model of examinations.

According to him, this is in line with  giving its stakeholders and publics, a view of the great potentials that exists in the computer-based approach to assessments.

Speaking further on,  the council boss stated that  the hybrid mode entailed that, the Objective or Multiple Choice questions, would be rendered on-screen and candidates were required to give their responses on the screen.

“The Essay and Practical questions will be rendered on-screen, likewise, but candidates will be required to give their responses using the answer booklets provided.

“The council  is encouraged by the acceptance of this innovation as evidenced in the number of entries received so far.

“As of today, Monday, Jan 29, a total of 8,285 candidates from across the federation  have registered for the examination. 

“Out of this number, 3,949 are male, representing 47.66 per cent, while 4,336  are female,  representing 52.3 per cent  of the total candidature.

“Candidates will be examined in 19 subjects, made up of 26 papers.

“For the successful conduct of the examination and to curb examination malpractices, carefully selected examination officials have been trained by council to serve as proctors during the conduct of the examination,” he said.
 Dangut noted that WAEC in a bid to further deliver on its mandate and as a way of helping candidates, had made available, its e-learning portal with materials that would demonstrate to candidates, the requirements for the conduct of the examination.
He urged candidates to  visit https://www.waeconline.org.ng/e-Learning/index.htm  to access the portal.
 
According to him, in addition, a tutorial video on how to navigate the examination portal is available on all council’s social media platforms.
 
He added that candidates could  also use the video to acquaint themselves with relevant information on demand and upon enquiry.
 
The council boss noted that  the results of candidates who would sit for the examination would  be released 45 days after the conduct of the last paper, while duly awarded certificates would be available on request via certrequest.waec.org.ng.
 
According to him, similarly, candidates can access digital copies of their certificates via the WAEC Digital Certificate portal by logging on to www.waec.org.
 
He noted that the CBT centres where the examination would be hosted across the nation were inspected with checklists and equipped with servers for the duration of the conduct of the examination.
 
He noted that trial tests were conducted across the country and a free mock examination also conducted for registered candidates on  Jan. 23 and Jan. 24
 
The council boss added that the final  international timetable for the conduct of the examination had been made available for proper and necessary guidance to prospective candidates.
 
“ In addition to the wide publicity that has been given to the examination via mass media outlets, social media has also been abuzz with news of the CB-WASSCE and the modalities for the conduct.
 
“WAEC,  being the foremost examining body, adding value to the educational goals of its stakeholders, has not rested on its oars, since the past 71 years of its existence. 
 
“It has continued to improve its service delivery across the board by leveraging Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the dynamic industry of assessment,”  he said. 

Education

UNLOCK: FG to increase grant winners, support businesses with registration

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As the ongoing UNLOCK Training Programme enters its final and crucial phase, participants on Monday got surprise boosters from the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Education (SSAP-TVEE), Madam Abiola  Arogundade, as she announced a decision to increase the number of grant winners and a promise of assistance in business registration.

Earlier on Friday, the fourth day of the programme, participants were also thrilled by the news that trainees of Vocational and Skills Acquisition Centres are included in the Students Loan Bill recently signed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to enable them obtain loans for the duration of their programmes.

In her remarks during the question-and-answer session on Monday, the Day 5 of the training, Arogundade said her Office (OSSAP-TVEE) would assist participants, especially start-ups, to process the registration of their new companies after the training. She added, however, that the assistance would be for only those who do not win the grant while grant winners would be expected to process theirs with part of their grants.

And welcoming the participants to the second week of the programme  at the end of the day’s training session, the SSAP-TVEE, who  expressed delight at their continued enthusiasm, announced, “I want to encourage you to continue to come for every single class, to start with your Business Plans. We have decided to include more people than we decided in the beginning for the grant; and so I want to encourage you to give us a reason for giving you the grant.”

Highlights of Monday’s training session included the assumption of the training function by a new facilitator, Mr. John Eyok, who took over from Bukola Mayie and the visit of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation and MSMES, Hon. Tola Johnson, who exhorted the participants on the importance of the training they are currently undertaking.

On Friday last week, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Students Loans and Tertiary Education, Hon. Adegboyega Nasir Isiaka, who gave the news of the Students Loans Bill during a brief visit at the programme, explained that Section 2 of the Act clearly states that vocational trainees would henceforth be beneficiaries of the Students Loans.

According to the Committee Chairman, the Act provides that fees and maintenance cost of students of tertiary and skill acquisition centres would be entitled to some amounts of money for school fees and maintenance throughout the duration of their programmes.

“What that means is that if you are in any particular skills acquisition training institution that meets the requirements of the Board and Management of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND), you can benefit from the facility,” the Chairman said.

Explaining that the details of the Bill are being worked out in terms of how much each category of beneficiaries would be entitled to, the Chairman told the participants, “In broad terms, it means that you have to do more of these activities; because anyone that wants to acquire one skill or the other will now no longer be deterred by funding required to do that.”

No less than 105 participants physically attended the training on Friday and Monday, Days 4 and 5 of the programme, while the number of online participants continued to soar with over 5,000 actively participating from more than 18 states of the Federation. The training enters its final stages this week as  Mr. John Eyok takes over from Bukola Mayie.

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Unibadan students condemn 750% fee increase for fresh students

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By Sodiq Adelakun

The proposed 750% fee hike for newly admitted students at the University of Ibadan has sparked outrage among the student body, prompting a swift response from the Student’s Union leadership.

In a joint statement issued by Samuel Tobiloba, President of the University Students Union, and Olaniyi Dolapo, General Secretary, a meeting with the university management has been requested to address the sudden fee adjustments.

The Student Union expressed shock upon learning of the fee increments when the university portal was opened.

The fees displayed on the portal reportedly range from N133,500 to N372,500, with additional utility and technology levies of N20,000 each expected from every student.

The statement issued by the Union underscores the concern and dissatisfaction felt by students regarding the arbitrary fee hike, highlighting the potential financial burden it imposes on newly admitted students.

According to the statement, “In a bid to clarify these, we reached out to the university management and it was confirmed that the opening of the portal was a demo process in preparation for the commencement of payment and registration processes and there was a plan for the increment of fees ranging from N133,500 to N238,500 aside the utility and technology levies (N80,000 in total).

“We note with concern that this increment represents about 450%-750% of the previous bundle fee which ranged from about N20,000 – N30,000.

“This is coming at a period when several students are finding it hard to cope with the current fees regime, and increased costs of living in the country.

“The union condemns this increment in strong terms, and requests that this proposed increment be reverted to the status quo.

“We are equally requesting a meeting with the university management towards resolving this issue,” the statement added.

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Education

ASUU, ATBU bicker over violation of VC appointment process

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Rauf Oyewole, Bauchi

The Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) Branch, Bauchi has faulted the University management for violating the varsity’s law guiding the appointment of a new vice chancellor and “illegally” allowing some principal officers stay in office on acting capacity beyond six months.

The ASUU-ATBU Chairperson, Dr. Ibrahim Inuwa, while speaking during a press conference at the Union’s Secretariat on Monday said that the Acting Registrar who is the custodian of the University law has engaged in “illegality” by advertising the position of VC while he (registrar) is illegally occupying office.

He said, “The advertisement of the vacancy for the post of Vice Chancellor in ATBU Bauchi (Internal and External Advertisement) published on Sunday January 13th, 2024 has got tongues wagging within and outside the University Community due to the absence of the University Council. The Union rejects this illegality because it runs counter to any relevant law governing the University.

“The Union is worried with the misapplication of the provisions of the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1993 as amended. The provisions of the Act never vested the powers of the advertisement of vacancy for the post of Vice Chancellor with the Hon. Minister of Education nor with the Registrar of the University.”

According to Inuwa, “There are no circumstances whatsoever in neither the spirit nor the letters of all the University Laws where anybody else rather than the Council, is given the powers to appoint a substantive Vice Chancellor. However, in an abnormal situation, the Law allows the University Senate to appoint an acting Vice Chancellor to hold the office for a maximum period of six months. This position is clearly spelt out in Chapter 16 Subsection A (b) xi-xii of the ATBU Conditions of Service.”

He said that ASUU ATBU found the move disturbing and unbecoming of the Management of the University using the absence of the Council to “perpetuate illegality even in the face of unambiguous provisions of the Laws.”

“This attitude of abusing the University Laws by the University Management has gradually become a norm. For example, the University Management in disregard to all extant Laws and the University Council’s directives that all Principal Officers’ who are in acting capacity should not exceed six months in that capacity and should be replaced by the next most senior officer in the unit if the vacancy is not yet properly filled.

“Nonetheless, the University Management violated this directive by allowing the current acting Registrar and other officers to be holding office for more than one year and counting. The Registrar, who is the supposed Custodian of the University Laws is unfortunately accommodating illegality,” he said.

The Union called on the Minister of Education and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who are the supervisory Minister and the Visitor to the University respectively to earnestly and accordingly use their noble offices to protect what remains of the sanctity of Public Universities in Nigeria by immediately halting the illegally started process of appointment of a Vice Chancellor for the University and ensure that Governing Councils of Universities are restored immediately to ensure that the Universities run according to the Laws of the land.

Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer of the University, Zailani Bappa dismissed the lecturers’ claim that the management violated the laws. He said that the management has been following due process by advertising vacant positions.

He said that the law allows the management to advertise the post of the VC in the absence of the Varsity Council.

“We have not violated any law. On other principal officers, we have advertised them to. Also, the law also allows that acting capacity can be renewed after expiration of six months. So, I don’t know what the ASUU mean by what they have said.”

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