The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) on Tuesday said it was perfecting plans to migrate to the Computer Based Test (CBT) mode for its examinations.
The Registrar of council, Iyi Uwadiae, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
According to him, the council is considering all variables available to ensure that the entire process is not messed up.
He, however, noted that the council was not in a hurry to migrate because the council basically conducts achievement tests and not selection tests.
“We have looked at the issue of CBT and found that this is not a selection test, where one can deal with paper and pencil.
“With that, you can easily migrate to CBT, but for an achievement test where you train people to become engineers, medical doctors and others, there will be need for practical experience.
“So, they do not just train them practically in the class, they equally need to be tested on theory.
“Against this background, therefore, we are collaborating with other examination bodies and experts outside Nigeria to ensure that when we start, we will not mess up the entire process.
“And what is expected of the candidates can still be achieved,’’ he said.
Mr. Uwadiae noted that the council was being cautious in getting it done because there were many things involved.
“We are not in a hurry to move in there but with time, we are going to migrate into it and start with the objective tests.
“We have to still do the practical aspect because we want to be sure that all schools are on the same level.
“They must be on the same level in terms of learning and all other aspects so that we can be able to have confidence on the reliability of the continuous assessment and practicals, which their teachers will give us.
“For now, we cannot say what we get from these teachers are reliable as we insist on continuous assessment.
“We need to go to these schools and match them against any standard tests,’’ the registrar said.
On the persistent poor performance of candidates, Uwadiae said the issue was not peculiar to Nigeria alone.
He noted that effective teaching and learning were no longer taking place in schools, coupled with the issue of dearth of infrastructure.
According to him, students seldom stay in the classrooms; they spend more time on the internet and do not read and all that.
He explained that such students were not expected to perform miracles during examinations.
“We compare our standards with that of other examination bodies in Nigeria and internationally and so we cannot lower our standards.
“Our examinations are taken by candidates of five different countries and it is the same examination.
“We have our own internal mechanism, as well as a very functional research outfit.
“For every examination, we do a research to find out why candidates perform poorly and if after this, we still have some doubts, we do what is called post item analysis.
“Invariably we find out that our items are not bad.
“The teachers are the ones who set the questions, moderate and mark them; we only collate and release results as adjudged by the experts,’’ the council boss added.