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MBSSE engages WAEC Regional Leadership on reforms, curriculum change, exam dignity

The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) has engaged the Chairman of Council of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) Professor Ato Essuman, Registrar Mr Pateh Bah on reforms in the subregion, the opportunities of having a change in curriculum, the dignity of the examination among other issues.

The WAEC Regional leadership is in Sierra Leone based on the invitation of the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Dr Moinina David Sengeh.
A closed-door session with the Minister, WAEC Chairman and Registrar of about one-hour conservation was held in the minister’s office before the meeting with other members in the MBSSE Conference Hall New England Ville, Freetown on Tuesday 22nd August 2022.

Highlighting the Ministry’s concerns, Dr Sengeh calls on WAEC to fast-track the recruitment of the WAEC Head of National Office in Sierra Leone, noting that the recruitment process started over a year ago and calls on the regional leadership to update MBSSE on how far they have gone with the process.

“Before the introduction of the result checker, students usually take weeks to know their examination results, but with the platform, they can now access their results through SMS. This is what the radical inclusion policy is about. Sincerely, the result checker and placement is the most transforming story of the government. The platform recorded over 200,000 users just after the release of the National Primary School Examination (NPSE),” he said.

The Minister commends WAEC for providing access to the result, noting that as a ministry MBSSE will keep pushing for more collaboration with WAEC. He apologized on behalf of Sierra Leone for accumulating the annual payment to WAEC for over ten years, noting that he will engage the concerned ministries in ensuring that they come up with a payment plan.

He however stated that the Ministry has already paid for NPSE, BECE and also sent the cheque to the bank for the payment of WASSCE.

“I want us (Sierra Leone) to host a high-level meeting with WAEC and ministers of WAEC member countries. A lot needs to be discussed ranging from assessment, curriculum among others,” he said.

Chairman of the Council of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) Professor Ato Essuman said WAEC is now 70 years old, so the call made by the Minister is very much time as they consider their 70 years of existence as reflection time and issues of reform are very much welcome.

He said WAEC would discuss it with the other countries so that they can buy into it.

Speaking on examination malpractice, he said the education sector in the different countries has a whole lot of responsibility because examinations are being held in their schools, noting that Sierra Leone remains the only country that is printing their question papers out of the country, he stressed the need for WAEC National Office to have their own printer as that will limit the leakage of question papers.
The Registrar Mr Bah noted that they will be pleased to see examinations results are released even before the stipulated 45 days period, but the past couple of years, they are challenged because the number of students that are taking the WASSCE has increased significantly.
He calls on the government to ensure that the government stops older candidates that are only joining schools to take the WAEC, adding that those candidates should go in for the private WASSCE as they are of equal significance.
On making the softcopy of the WASSCE result available for analysis and also for result checker, he said there is still an opportunity for dialogue, noting that WAEC feed on the fund they get from selling scratch cards for sustenance and if withdrawn, that will make WAEC less effective.

The Chief Education Officer at the MBSSE Professor Yatta Kanu welcomed the Chairman of Council and Registrar for their maiden visit to Sierra Leone, noting that the ministry will continue its good working relationship with the WAEC.
She calls on WAEC to regulate the sales of scratch cards as business people are buying huge amounts at Le 30,000 and selling at very high prices.

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