By Tabora Bojang
The annual meeting of the main governing board of the West African Examinations Council WAEC is currently underway in Banjul.
The 66th edition was attended by the vice-president Fatoumatta Jallow, and brings together delegates from the five member countries including government nominees, education officials, students and other interest groups.
WAEC is West Africa’s principal examining body of five countries established in 1952, following the acceptance of the recommendations of the late Dr. G.B. Jeffery and the enactment of the relevant legislations in Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, while Liberia attained membership in 1974.
Officials said WAEC has over the years built a reputation of maintaining high standards in examinations, and hailed for being the only institution that West Africans can proudly represent as their own ‘pride and symbol of success in regional integration and cooperation among member nations.’
“WAEC has consistently played a prominent role in educational development in its member countries and most times acted as a catalyst for educational reform,” the Vice President stated.
“The Gambia Government in recognition of this very crucial role of the council, continues to give it moral and financial support even though we are experiencing economic difficulties, every step is being taken to meet our financial commitments to the council” she told delegates at the Kairaba Hotel.
According to her, in a bid to making education accessible and affordable to all, the government is now paying exam fees for both junior and secondary level students.
“We will ensure that the council accesses these funds timely to enable them deliver the expected quality service in return” she promised.
The chairperson of WAEC Dr Evelyn Kandakai, noted that WAEC is not a profit making organisation and its operations are funded from contributions, remittances and subventions from its member states which according to him, has diminished in recent years.
“It has because governments prevents council offices to charge the required economic rates on examinations and high amounts of unpaid contributions and remittances accumulated for some years”
Doctor Kandakai thanked member governments, however, called for continuous assistance and fulfillment of financial commitments in the current year from member countries.
The WAEC endowment fund which supports awards for outstanding performances by candidates, also honored three other candidates by conferring on them the council’s excellence awards for coming out top in WASSCE conducted examinations in the five member states.
The trio, Sutherland Jochebed Adwoa, Awuttey Audrey Emefa and Amaning Kwarteng Rachel all from Ghana, bagged distinctions (A1’s) in all eight subjects in WASSCE.
Alhaji Kebba Jagne, a former vice principal of Armitage and founding father of the supreme Islamic council, was also conferred with the prestigious award of “Distinguished Friend of Council.”
The Council is the highest decision making body which meets yearly to review activities and operations of WAEC offices in the five member countries.
It also considers the reports from its committees on their aspects of operations ranging from examinations, administrations, finances and recommendations to ensure a smooth and successful operations.