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WAEC honours three outstanding students at International Excellence Awards in Freetown

BY: Emmanuel Bonney
Excellence Award winners. From left Miss Wilhermina Opoku, Master Arotiba Peter Seunara (middle) and Miss Brago Afrifa Sarpong.
Excellence Award winners. From left Miss Wilhermina Opoku, Master Arotiba Peter Seunara (middle) and Miss Brago Afrifa Sarpong.

Ghana's dominance of the top position of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) International Excellence Awards was broken by a candidate from Nigeria, the biggest country of the five-member WAEC countries.

The International Excellence Awards are given to candidates who excelled in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for School Candidates.
Ghana, before last year had often emerged winner of the overall best candidate award at the International Excellence Awards.

This is in addition to the first and second runner’s up awards. However, during the 2018 WASSCE, Master Peter Seunara Arotiba from Nigeria broke Ghana’s jinx when he recorded a total score of 657.8256. He had A1 in Economics, A1 in Civic Education, A1 in Tourism, A1 in English Language, A1 in Mathematics, A1 in Biology, A1 in Chemistry and A1 in Physics.

Miss Wilhermina Opoku, formerly of the Wesley Girls’ High School in Cape Coast, who was the Overall Best Candidate in Ghana, had the second prize at the International Excellence Awards with a total score of 649.7693. She had Social Studies A1, English Language A1, Mathematics (core) A1, Integrated Science A1, Mathematics (elective) A1, Biology A1, Chemistry A1 and Physics A1.

The third prize award at the International Excellence Awards went to Ms Imelda Naa Ayorkor Adjei also a former student of the Wesley High Girls' School, who was adjudged Overall third Best Student in Ghana.

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She had a total score of 646.8677, having scored A1 in Social Studies, A1 in English Language, A1 in Mathematics (core), A1 in Integrated Science, A1 in Mathematics (elective), A1 in Biology, A1 in Chemistry and A1 in Physics.

At the opening ceremony of the 67th Annual Meeting of WAEC in Freetown Sierra Leone, the three candidates were honoured with the WAEC International Excellence Awards for their outstanding performance in the 2019 WASSCE for School Candidates.

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The three winners emerged from a total of 1,976,537 candidates who sat WASSCE for School Candidates in 2018 in The Gambia, Ghana,Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

The meeting ended with the election of the country’s Chief Government Nominee on council, Dr. Alhaji Mohamed Kamara, as Vice-Chairman for a one-year tenure. He succeeds Mr Ebrima Sisawo of The Gambia.

At the meeting, council appealed to international donor agencies, corporate organisations and philanthropic private individuals to collaborate with WAEC by instituting other awards to encourage more students in the sub-region to strive for academic excellence.

The meeting was opened by His Excellency Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Sierra Leone, who was represented by the Chief Minister, Professor David John Francis.

In his keynote address, President Bio described WAECas a veritable sub-regional body administering credible examinations and unifying the member countries.

He lauded the council for constantly demonstrating its commitment to academic excellence, regional cooperation and global best practices, adding that his government had prioritised investment in human capital development by introducing Free Quality School Education aimed at providing access for all eligible pupils and students in Sierra Leone.

He called on WAEC to continue to uphold standards and integrity in its assessment process, adding that there should always be relevance between assessment and curriculum so that the outcomes of assessment would accurately reflect the individual’s competence or attainment in relation to tasks or further studies.

He also stressed the need for synergy among the various country offices of WAEC, and urged the council to constantly deploy cutting-edge technology in its operations across the sub-region.

While reaffirming his government’s commitment to the fulfilment of all obligations to WAEC, the President advised the council to do everything necessary to sustain its reputation as a leading examining board in Africa.

At the 67th meeting, the council reviewed the activities and operations of the organisation in the five member countries in the past year. It considered reports from its national and international committees on various aspects of the organisation’s operations.

Liberia would host the next meeting in 2020.

The meeting also deliberated on the action plans presented by the committees and national offices, and firmed up strategies for hitch-free operations in the current year.

Furthermore, council received reports from the leaders of the country delegations, and lauded the various people-oriented programmes and initiatives being implemented in the education sector of their respective countries.

It expressed appreciation to the governments of the member countries for their renewed commitment to educational matters and the conduct of credible public examinations.

On the areas that appeared to be lagging, it called on the governments to step up their interventions for further assurances of access to quality education, improved academic attainments and enhanced human capital development. It also expressed profound appreciation for everything that each member country had done to keep WAEC in existence and provide the enabling environment for the Council to deliver quality service for sixty-seven years.

Council commended the Management and staff of its country offices and Headquarters for the successful conduct of examinations, early release of results and prompt issuance of certificates. It expressed worry over the depth and dimensions of irregularities in public examinations, and called on governments, law enforcement agencies and ICT companies/experts in the sub-region to collaborate with examining boards and other educational institutions in fashioning more sustainable interventions that could rid the school system of assessment frauds.