Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 March 2019:
A high-level delegation from the West African Examination Council (WAEC) held a meeting at State House today, Wednesday 20 March 2019, with president Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone to discuss the Council’s 67th Annual Meeting taking place in Freetown this week.
Chairman of the Council, Baboucarr Bouy, said they are happy meeting the President, despite his busy schedule and expressed appreciation for the government’s decision to host the 67th Session in Sierra Leone. Without the government’s support, he said, the meeting which started yesterday, would not have been possible.
Baboucarr Bouy spoke about the last meeting he had with president Bio, during which they spoke about the integrity of public examinations. He said that the Council has mobilised the necessary resources and manpower, so that WAEC can conduct examinations in a manner that should maintain the credibility of the council, the governing body and certifying authority of public examinations in West Africa.
Mr. Bouy promised that WAEC will continue to ensure exams are free from leakages and malpractices. He, however, expressed fears about the challenges the Council faces, with regards new technology.
New technologies he said, are presenting challenges on scarce resources in responding to threat of malpractices.
“I want to remind Your Excellency Sir, that we have raised the issue of financial resources to WAEC and we are happy to inform that the Government of Sierra Leone has started to take action; and we want to further appeal that you use your office to help us deal with this. The new technology that is actually presenting big challenges to the examinations is what is responsible for the high cost on the running of our examinations,” he said.
It is not clear whether this statement relates to unconfirmed reports of the previous Koroma led government, owing a massive $10 million to WAEC in unpaid examination fees, which the Bio government has inherited and must now pay up.
President Bio thanked the management of the Council for their efforts in keeping the sub-region ahead in terms of education. He said his government’s free quality education is an important component of the country’s human capital development. The integrity of examinations is very important.
“For us, the integrity of our examinations is very paramount and you are directly in charge of that. So, you have a role to play. We want to assure you that whatever we can do, to support WAEC to make sure that the integrity of our examinations is maintained, we will do. We have to make sure we continue to work hard and provide the best quality education for our children.
“Of course, there are challenges with technology but those are challenges that we should try to surmount because they are going to keep increasing as new technologies are coming up every day. So, we have to chase them as quickly as possible, otherwise they will affect the quality of examinations and education,” he urged.