By Emmanuel Oluwadola, Chuwbuikem Eze,
Adedolapo Aladesunkanmi, & Olayinka Awe
Concerned Nigerians have lauded the plan of the West African Examination Council to start the computer-based examination for Senior School Certificate Examination, stating that it will reduce examination malpractices.
They suggested that WAEC should completely rule out the paper and pen-based examination and divert its funds into conducting CBT examinations.
Some noted that for effectiveness, the problem of inadequate power supply, low competency, lack of familiarity with the computer, lack of qualified personnel and poor facilities may hamper the transition, if not addressed.
They further highlighted fast scoring, the release of reliable results, and the eradication of examination malpractice as the added benefits if adopted.
The immediate past Head WAEC National Office, Mr Patrick Areghan, had hinted that plan was at an advanced stage to conduct CBT for WASSCE.
Reacting, Education Professor at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Prof. A. N. Okolo, explained that the intended WAEC CBT-based test will facilitate students’ adequate preparation for examinations.
“This implies that students must have covered a wide range of topics to have the opportunity to answer CBT questions successfully. It will lead to enhancement in schools’ curricula, to enhance students’ versatility.
“Otherwise, there is a risk of ineffective efforts that include cheating (expo) instead of eliminating it,” she hinted.
The Principal of Government College, Ikere Ekiti, Mr. Kunle Ogunniyi said unequal computer access in schools requires government intervention.
He urged the system to learn lessons from successful implementations in other CBT exams for a smooth transition.
Another school principal in Akure, Mr Alex, believes that shifting to computer-based test (CBT) will enhance computer literacy but the dearth of computers in schools may bedevil the plan.
“How to set the examination questions and make sure students have access to a computer is the challenge. Like schools with 3000 to 4000 candidates. Many of these schools don’t have enough computers to cater for them.”
A parent, Mr Awe Arogunjojo from Iwaro-Oka opined that WAEC should start with running the CBT examination with the paper system, stating that over time there will be a total changeover to the new system.
He said some loopholes like communication barriers, and lack of internet connection in rural communities may pose challenges for the new plan adoption.