The 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), yesterday, began nationwide amid complaints.
In Bauchi State, it was one disappointment too many at the centres covered. Students that spoke with newsmen complained of their names not being found on the master lists.
When The Guardian visited the Gen. Hassan Katsina Secondary School in the metropolis, some candidates were downcast outside the hall, while their peers were taking the general mathematics test.
One of them, Aliyu Mohammed, said his name was “expunged from the list after passing the mock exam.” He was among the eight stranded students.”
The dejected pupil stated: “I’m not happy about this. After six years of study, does it mean we have to wait for another year before we can write WAEC?”
Another student, who craved anonymity and claimed to have come all the way from Kwara with no relative in Bauchi, expressed dissatisfaction after months of preparation.
“Some of us are from Plateau, Gombe, Kano and across the 19 northern states. We came to school after the lockdown to write this examination, but unfortunately, see what happened to us after payment,” he lamented.
The situation was same at Government Girls College, Bauchi; Government Comprehensive Secondary School, Ran Road and Government Day Secondary School, Kofar Wambai.
A teacher claimed that the problem occurred at the point of registration, noting that the ministry should have allowed them to handle their students, as “we know them better.”
Reacting, the Commissioner for Education, Dr. Aliyu Tilde, said the state government had ordered principals to furnish it with the missing names.
“We are planning towards the next SSCE (NECO). We will see how we can register them for NECO.
“We are going to stop using vendors, our ministry will do the registration itself. Most likely, the mistakes were from vendors – we are not going to contract it –to anyone anymore,” he said.
The commissioner vowed to investigate the matter and sanction those behind the lapse accordingly.
However, the West African Examinations Council has dismissed the claims of paper leak.
Its Head of Public Affairs, Demianus Ojijeogu, said the answers in circulation were fake.
“This is fake. Scammers do this every year. Only gullible candidates fall prey,” he clarified.
The examination went on smoothly in most of the schools visited in Lagos. The students were seen sitting two metres apart, with no report of malpractice.
The invigilators and supervisors wore facemasks in deference to the extant safety protocols, even as a manager said the candidates were not more than 15 in a class.
Also, Governor Udom Emmanuel has warned principals of public schools across Akwa Ibom State against illegal collection and malpractice.
He spoke through the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Enobong Mbobo, during an emergency meeting held with school administrators in Uyo in preparation for the exit examinations.
Besides, the Kogi State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Wemi Jones, has expressed satisfaction with the compliance level by the students and managers involved in the ongoing examination.
Addressing reporters after leading a team from the ministry to monitor the conduct of the test in some schools in Lokoja and its environs yesterday, Jones described the arrangement as satisfactory.
He urged attentiveness and vigilance.
In the same vein, the Lagos State House of Assembly has directed its Committee on Education to tour schools for adherence to the safety guidelines.
During the plenary presided over yesterday by Speaker Mudashiru Obasa, the legislative chamber also appealed to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to examine the students with a view to affirming their statuses.
Moreover, late arrival of materials heralded the test in most institutions touched yesterday in Oyo State.
On the other hand, most of the schools in the capital, Ibadan, had their students, teachers and invigilators complying with the COVID-19 protocols.
This even as chairman of Akwa Ibom Ethical and Attitudinal Reorientation Commission (EARCOM) Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Dorothy Thompson, charged parents on provision of face masks for their wards.
She said the guardians must complement the efforts of the Governor Udom Emmanuel administration for providing 100, 000 of the protective material for the students ahead of their return.
The consciousness was also observed in Kano where majority of the candidates were seen donning face masks, sanitising their hands and subjecting themselves to temperature checks before access to the exams halls.
Principal of Government Girls Secondary School, Maikwatashi, Hajiya Amina Usman Umar, confirmed observance of the safety measures put in place by the state government to check the virus.
Attempts to speak to both the Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Sanusi Kiru and the Executive Secretary of KSSSB were futile as the two officials were not available when The Guardian called for comments.