The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has appealed to the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, State Governments and corporate organisations for funds to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for manpower that would conduct the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) starting August 4.
WAEC Nigeria Head of National Office, Mr. Patrick Areghan, said at a briefing on Tuesday that it would need more supervisors and invigilators for the examination kitted with appropriate PPE, the cost of which was not captured in the budget for the examination.
Lamenting the examination would be conducted under unfriendly conditions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Areghan said it would cost the Council more than N50 million to give one face mask and one hand sanitizer to each of its supervisor nationwide.
He said: “There are many well-spirited individuals donating face masks and hand sanitizers – that is what we are asking for.
“Even if we are going to give only one washable/reusable face mask and one bottle of hand sanitizer to every staff and supervisor that will not cost us less than N50 million.
“And if we make it two per staff and supervisor, that will not cost us less than N100 million.
” A committee has already worked on it; these are not just ficticious figures. We have even done negotiations with some companies.
“If we now say if you have hand sanitizers, give us; if you have face masks, give us, is it out of place?” he asked at the briefing at the Council’s headquarters in Yaba.
“These are not normal times. When we were planning for the examination nobody anticipated a situation like this.
“When we talk about supervision; we used to have one supervisor to 299 candidates. Once it is 300 we now have two supervisors.
“But now we are going to have one supervisor to about 150 candidates in order to maintain this social or physical distancing.
“All these have cost implications. For example, we are going to engage 23, 250 supervisors from 10,667. That is a lot of money.
“Now, we have 19,129 schools. If a school has 300 candidates for example, we are going to have two supervisors. And it also even depends on the number of classrooms they are going to use because we are going to maintain social distancing of two metres apart.
“How many candidates will sit in a hall like this and put one supervisor there? So we are really going to spend more money than originally budgeted.”
A total of 1,549,463 SS3 candidates have been registered to take the examination in 19,129 schools nationwide on Mondays-Saturdays from August 3-September 5, 2020.
Areghan said the examination would hold at the same time in the other four member countries.
However, he noted that the international timetable for the examination would be domesticated for use in Nigeria to align with local time.
He said the examination was shortened by four weeks to reduce the period of mass interaction and check the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Areghan said schools would be required to soap and running water for hand washing; hand sanitizers, non-contact infrared thermometers, as well as face masks for all candidates.
He added that there would be two-metre spacing between candidates while regular hand washing would be required during the examination.