WAEC 65th Annual Council Meeting: Buhari Extols Exams Body’s Role in Country’s Education

President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) over its role in education development of the country.

He stated this at the formal opening of the 65th Annual Council meeting of WAEC in Abuja.

The president, represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo, berated the menace of examination malpractices, which he said is always a reflection of the failure of value in the society.

He said WAEC must take the credit for the fact that more than 90% of educated adults in English-speaking West African countries have been its products.

The president also called for the need to redirect teachings to focus more on critical thinking and problem solving to encourage a thinking society.

The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said  WAEC has been true to its mandate, which it actualized through the application of its power of assessment, setting and maintaining high standard in education delivery.

“Its mission is to promote excellence. And it has been doing this successfully for more than 60 years , adding value to the education systems of its stakeholders,” he said.

The relationship between Nigeria and WAEC according to him, has been of great mutual benefit which goes right from the organization inception, saying, Nigeria shoulders more than half of WAEC’s financial burden and 12 of the 34 members of WAEC Council come from Nigeria.

Full Speech

ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, GCFR AT THE FORMAL OPENING CEREMONY OF THE 65TH ANNUAL COUNCIL MEETING OF THE WEST AFRICAN EXAMINATIONS COUNCIL HELD IN ABUJA ON TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2017

Chairman of the West African Examinations Council,

Distinguished Senators here present,

Members of the Federal Executive Council here present,

Your Excellencies, High Commissioners,

Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Your Royal Highnesses,

My Lords Spiritual and Temporal,

Members of the West African Examinations Council,

Invited Guests,

Gentlemen of the Press,

Principals and Students of Invited Schools,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am pleased to be here with you on this auspicious occasion of the Formal Opening Ceremony of the 65th Annual Council Meeting of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).

It is highly pleasing to note that this great sub-regional institution has clocked 65 years of continual existence and unquantifiable service to the education sector in Nigeria and the four other member countries. Let me therefore, congratulate WAEC for this feat.

It is indeed very significant and highly gratifying that WAEC survived the turbulence and the pull of centrifugal forces of the early years of Independence in the sub-region. WAEC deserves high commendation in the light of the fact that all other regional bodies set up by the British Colonial Administration in West Africa have been blown away by the wind of post-independence nationalism. I must therefore, congratulate WAEC on the giant strides it has made over these past 65 years.

I have been associated with this flagship organisation since my high school days when we had to write the Cambridge School Certificate, London GCE and City and Guilds of London Examinations, all conducted locally by WAEC as sole agent of these British institutions.  WAEC has come a long way since then, as it has become much stronger and now a giant of no mean status.   I am aware that in many of its member countries, WAEC handles a range of examinations, from Primary to the terminal secondary school examination.

I want to also congratulate WAEC for its resilience and for its meritorious service to the people of the West African Sub-Region.  It has had some knocks here and there for unfulfilled expectations, some feasible, some not so feasible, considering the nature of the service rendered.    However, WAEC must take the credit for the fact that more than 90% of educated adults in the English – Speaking West African Countries have been products of WAEC, one way or the other.

Let me pause a while and welcome all of you to Abuja, Nigeria’s rapidly developing capital city – the Centre of Unity.  I hope you will find the environment serene enough for your serious business sessions and exciting enough for relaxation during your free periods.

Madam Chairman, I am pleased to inform you that the Federal Government of Nigeria sees it as a privilege to host the 65th Annual Council Meeting of an organisation like WAEC which we hold in very high esteem.  You can always count on our support and assistance because we are convinced that yours is a difficult assignment.  WAEC, like Court Judges, will always hurt somebody, even when you discharge your responsibilities perfectly.  The criminal who is found guilty and gets punished will blame his woes on the Judge.  In the same vein, those candidates who fail your examinations, out of their own weakness, will blame you for their failure.

You should understand their plight because success in your examination is a veritable key to a better life after high school.  Talk of admission into tertiary institutions, a career in any profession or employment, WAEC results count.  People tend therefore, to view the acquisition of your certificate as a do or die affair.  They are ready to do many unwholesome things to acquire it, even at the expense of the entire educational system!

You are to be congratulated for your principled stand against examination malpractice.  It agrees totally with our 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 the 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 multi-storey buildings that will collapse on their occupants.

Let me therefore, charge you to spare no effort in your fight against examination malpractice.  The government 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 not only be stepped up, but it must also be won.

In your deregulated environment, I expect you to be courageous to take hurtful decisions when necessary, remain impartial in your judgments and be more prompt in your service delivery.  Above all, you must be pro-active in your policies to reflect the real essence of education, which is the total development of the human personality.  That is what you owe the people of the West African Sub-region.

Let me, at this point, appeal to all of us dealing with this great institution, WAEC, to continue to strive assiduously in ensuring and upholding the integrity and credibility of its examinations.  Once again, I, on behalf of the Government and good people of Nigeria, extend a cordial and very warm welcome to all of you, our brothers and sisters, from the four other member countries, while reaffirming our confidence in, trust and support for the West African Examinations Council.

Madam Chairman, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I hereby formally declare open the 65th Annual Meeting of Council.  I wish you fruitful and successful deliberations.

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