Not bent on taking chances with the lives of candidates writing the ongoing November/December West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), management of the West African Examination Council (WAEC), Saturday, embarked on a random screening of the private candidates.
At the head of the team, which went round some schools in Lagos State was Head of WAEC National Office, Charles Eguridu. He was accompanied by the Deputy Director (Protocol), Okoruwa Sunday Thomas, Deputy Director (Protocol), Magnus Omorege as well as medical personnel among others.
Speaking on the rationale behind the screening, Eguridu said, “Management of WAEC in Nigeria is being proactive because we were concerned about the safety of the candidates and conscious of the different proactive measures taken by the Federal Government. So we consider it as a part of our corporate social responsibility that, in the course of conducting our examination, we do not cause any problems to the society.
“So, in that respect, we partnered with our medical team to acquire these scanners and other kits needed for the exercise. In the light of the limited resources that we have, we are doing the best we could to ensure the success of the exercise,” Eguridu stated.
Clearly, some candidates, for some strange reasons, felt uneasy being screened in the course of their examination. But Eguridu said, “If you weigh the cost of distracting a candidate for about 30 seconds against that of infecting another with the virus, I think there is nothing to worry about, and I am convinced that the brief distraction will not affect the candidates performances.”
However, if in the course of scanning, any suspicious case crops up, he said, “that is why we have our medical team on ground and a waiting ambulance to take care of the situation. And we know what to do.”
On his observations in the course of exercise, he said, “In the course of the exercise, we have discovered that there is no single suspicious case among the candidates we have so far screned.
“Secondly, we have also observed that some supervisors did not heed to the instructions given them over the customised calculators/mathematical sets that we have introduced, which were to be given out to the candidates at the commencement of the examination. The examination is just starting and this is about the first major paper. We could not have given the mathematical sets out before now because we did not want them to be cloned by fraudsters. So, we will address the minor issues that we have observed here.”
He said WAEC staff members were all over Lagos, “but we were unable to deploy the equipment to all parts of the country. But we have deployed them to states that have witnessed incidences of Ebola virus diseases.”