The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) on Thursday said it had approved the commencement of an additional diet in its examination for the private candidates every year.
The council’s Registrar, Dr. Iyi Uwadiae, announced the approval at a news conference in Lagos.
Uwadiae said the move was in connection with the growing concerns among stakeholders over what they perceived as discrimination or denial of equal opportunity to private candidates.
He said: “WAEC conducts its West African Senior School Certificate Examination twice every year, in May/June for school candidates and in November/December for private candidates.
“The council also conducts various national examinations in the member countries except Nigeria.
“Now, the school candidates who wish to retake the examination usually have the opportunity of doing so with the private candidates’ examination.
“With this development, there has been a wave of agitation, criticisms and appeal across the sub-region for the council to ameliorate the agony of long waiting experience by private candidates who desire another attempt at WASSCE.”
Uwadiae added the situation was often cited as being responsible for the level of desperation sometimes exhibited by the perpetrators of malpractice at the private candidates’ examination centres.
He said: “The council, after painstakingly considering all ramifications of the matter, has finally given approval for the national offices to begin the conduct of one additional diet each year of WASSCE for private candidates.”
He noted that the modalities for the take-off of the examination were already being worked out and the examination could begin in February/March of 2018.
Uwadiae said: “I must be quick to point out that though the council has given the nod, the conduct of the additional diet may not take off in all the member countries immediately or at the same time.
“But let me also assure stakeholders in Nigeria that the Nigeria national office has indicated its willingness and readiness to blaze the trail by making the examination available to Nigerians in 2018.
“Details of the scheduled dates, available subjects, location of centres and their information would be provided by the Head of Nigeria national nffice at the appropriate time.”
The registrar recalled that the maiden WASSCE was conducted in the Gambia in 1998 and was later introduced in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Liberia in 1999, 2000, 2006 and 2013 respectively.
He said: “Now, I am glad to inform you all that the government of Liberia has now taken the bold decision to finally phase out the country’s national examination and adopt WASSCE.”
The Registrar lauded the Nigerian media, especially education writers, for their vibrancy and critical role in national development.