By Chika Onyesi
The National Examinations Council, NECO, has urged the Federal Government to prioritise security of examinations just as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is provided security during elections.
The call comes in the light of the continued spate of malpractice in public examinations across the country.
The Acting Registrar of NECO, Mr Abubakar Gana, made the appeal a brief to the Minister of Education on the achievements of the Council between May 2018 and September 2019.
The registrar, who also asked for deliberate government policies to promote discipline among teachers and school administrators, said the incessant impersonation and collusion by supervisors, teachers and school administrators in exam malpractice, was a major challenge in the conduct of the exercise.
The exam body lamented that it recorded over 40,000 cases of malpractice in the June/July 2019 Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, SSCE, despite acquiring 8,000 biometric verification machines to avert incidents of impersonation.
The challenges facing the exam body notwithstanding, the NECO Registrar said the council had recorded some significant success following implementation of critical reforms.
The council reported that it abolished use of scratch cards following scam reports and apparent loss of revenue, adding that it subjected all printed 2018 November/December registration cards to activation only after monies for each card have been credited to the Council’s TSA.
The exam body has also integrated its new 2019 November/December SSCE registration software on its website, which became effective in August 2019 and will close on 28th October, 2019 at 12.00 midnight.
“The Council successfully developed on the new website, the offline & online registration software that were used in the 2019 BECE and June/July SSCE registrations and deployed full-scale biometric data capture during the registration process.
“The Council successfully implemented the Federal Government’s downward review of NECO Examination Fees regime as follows: NCEE (N2,500.00), BECE (N4,000.00) and SSCE (N9,850.00). The implementation was carried out in the registration of all NECO examinations this year,” it said.
Despite its achievements NECO says “Dishonesty among some Principals and Proprietors of schools who provide falsified documents of their schools in order to secure Accreditation, increasing cost of logistics in the conduct of examinations due to inflation remains a challenge’’