By Joseph Erunke
VICE President Yemi Osinbajo,has tasked the West African Examinations Council,WAEC,to design new academic curriculum in line with the 21st Century challenges.
He equally enjoined the West African secondary schools examinations body to adopt International General Certificate of Secondary Education, IGCSE module, which he noted, requires not only creativity but also imagination.
Osinbajo said designing a curriculum that would prepare world-class young people with strong interpersonal, innovative, entrepreneurial, critical and creative skills was necessary at this time if West African subregion must move fast to catch up with advanced world.
He spoke,Tuesday, in Abuja while declaring open the 70th Annual Council Meetung of WAEC.
Açcording to him, the reality of the 21st Century had changed the way people work, do business and live in the global economy, requiring that the examination.
Hear him:“With amazing advances in technology, talent is more mobile, and there is greater competition for well trained, innovative and resourceful human resources.
“The 21st century economy requires a different skill sets– problem solving and innovation are key requirements.
“The essential difference is that the WASC encourages learning by rote, the IGSCE incorporates the teaching of core skills or deep learning skills, critical thinking, creativity, imagination, problem solving skills, and collaboration.
“These are the essential skills that young people need to be competitive and prepared for life and work in a global economy.
“So it seems to me that in the next few years WAEC’s curriculum and examinations must be designed to test for and support core skills.”
insisted that the war on examination malpractices must not only be stepped up, it must also be won.
He congratulated WAEC for its principled stand against examination malpractice, saying this agrees totally with the government’s anti-corruption policy.
“Examination cheats will end up as charlatans in whatever field or profession they find themselves. In hospitals, they will be butchers instead of surgeons and in academia, they will plagiarise and bully their students into accepting whatever they offer, thus stifling enquiry and initiative by inquisitive students.
“As builders, they will build bridges that will cave in before the project is commissioned and storey buildings which will collapse on their occupants. Let me, therefore, charge you to spare no effort in your fight against examination malpractice.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria has played its part by enacting a law, the draft to which you contributed as a major stakeholder, on examination malpractice. The examination malpractices decree no. 33 of May 1999 (now Examinations Malpractice Act of 1999) spells out the offences and penalties.“The war on examination cheats must be not only be stepped up, it must also be won. I expect you to be courageous, to take hurtful decisions when necessary and remain impartial in your judgments and be more prompt in your delivery,” the President said.
Buhari while charging WAEC to embrace technology in the conduct of its examination, particularly urged the Council to look at the possibility of migrating from offline to online mode of examination.
He said: “WAEC deserves commendation, for being the only sub-regional organization established in the Colonial era in Anglophone West Africa, which has not only survived the pull of centrifugal forces of the post-independence era, as a result of often-times misguided nationalism but which has continued to wax stronger.
Açcording to him,WAEC has greater room for reach and expansion if they follow the trail of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, which is evolving on the continent.
“is an ambitious trade pact to form one of the world’s largest free trade area by connecting almost 1.3bn people across all 54 African countries, aims to create a single market for goods and services in order to deepen the economic integration of Africa,”he said.
According to Professor Osinbajo the future of institutions like WAEC will depend on how well they embrace technological innovations and their ability to reinvent themselves in the ever-changing world.
“I think it is also crucial that WAEC must continually embrace Technology there is no option today.
“And we must commend WAEC for the technological innovations it has implemented so far, which includes biometric verifications, online registration, computer based tests,CBT,etc.
“However, we can and must go further. A key aspect of technological advancement in examinations WAEC must commit to implementing is Online Examinations, which speaks to exams conducted remotely on a computer with high-speed internet, ” he explained.
The Vice President said; “a shift from offline to online examinations would reduce the current overall logistics costs; break geographic barriers, thereby enabling a wider reach and participation; provide real-time analytical & assessment reports to examiners and candidates; and further curb the menace of examination malpractices through AI-based proctoring technology.
“Another technological innovation to take note of is – On-Screen marking, otherwise called Digital Evaluation – a method of marking paper-based candidate responses using a computer.”
He said; “I am aware WAEC is currently implementing some aspects of it. This technology enhances the quality of evaluation of descriptive answer scripts within a transparent, secure and efficient framework.
“Hence, the council must work towards fully adopting this innovation.”
The event saw winners of the 2021 WAEC Excellence Awards being presented with their prizes.
The winners are Nweze Isabella Chinasa, (Nigeria),first prize; Asante Kwameh Brako (Ghana), second prize; and Edeani Izuchukwu Godswill (Nigeria), third prize.