The West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), for Senior Secondary School (SSS3), Student started on Monday across the country, under strict COVID-19 Protocols.
In some of the Schools in Lagos visited by EDUCARE NEWS reporters, all COVID-19 measures, like running tap water, hand sanitisers, buckets were put in place. Students were seen putting on their face masks, while also observing social/ physical distancing.
At Gracious Secondary School, Igando, COVID-19 guidelines was strictly observed in the exam hall, with students wearing their face masks and keeping social distancing measures.
The Principal of the School, Mrs Iyabode Adeleke, while speaking to our reporter dismissed encountering any challenge as the exams enter day one on Monday.
“We don’t have any challenge because we don’t have much students, we have just seventeen students on ground, assuming we have more than that, there will be challenge of space, and the hall is big enough to accommodate them, while observing social distancing. We have water, temperature checker to check the students, and all of them are with their face masks, so we don’t have problem of any sort.
On whether the students had enough time to prepare for the exams, Mrs Adeleke said: “Not really, because if we say maybe they have been reading at home, then we will be deceiving ourselves, because they don’t know when the exam will start, all of a sudden the Government finally reach an agreement with WAEC, alongside other stakeholders on a date for the exams (August 17), and they gave us two weeks for intensive coaching, which we have done. Now, for a child who is above average can easily do revision and not to totally abandon their studies at home, I think they don’t have problem.
However, the amiable Principal, is optimistic that her students will come out with positive results “I expect them to pass, no teacher will want their student to fail, i expect positive and good result at the end of it all.”
When our reporter visited Igando Community Senior High School, it was a beehive of activities, as WAEC officials were seen distributing materials for the exams, while students, teachers, and supervisors adhere strictly to all COVID-19 guidelines,
A top official in the school, who spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity, said: “ We don’t have any challenges presently, like you can see our school is a custodian office for WAEC, so there are activities going on, there are many WAEC activities, we are set for the first paper, we don’t have any challenge.”
At Clemmy High school, Cele Egbe, we caught up with the Vice-Principal of the school, Mr Maxwell B. who was delighted that the exams has finally commenced.
“We thank God that eventually the exams happen today, there is this skepticism about if it would hold or not, eventually today has come and the exam has commenced. The incident that led to the delay of the exams was something that came from the ‘blind side’, they were suppose to have their result in their hands by now if not for the COVID-19 Pandemic incident. Exams was to commence in April or thereabout, students were already in exam mood before the shutdown of schools, there was this hope, we assumed we are going to come back soon, after some months, they lost hope, but now it is now rekindle and they are now writing the exams. There was this time they were high in spirit preparing for the exams, but when no light was seen at the end of the tunnel, they just relax, now the Government came up and say let’s start, it’s a good thing they start.
Mr Maxwell, However, believed adequate time was not given for the students to prepare for the exams.
“ Definitely no, it reflected two weeks ago when they resumed for revision, like I said earlier, there was this time they were very ready and in the mood for the exams, but that mood was deflated with the long stay at home when all hope was virtually lost that they will resume for the exam. The percentage of deflation for some of the students was up to 80 per cent for some it was up to 90, they practically came down because some of them they did not read again, it was a huge challenge, so In order to bring the students up to the best level for the exams, our teachers have to engage them with extra classes, we combined the online class and the inventing class, we thank God we were able to revive a whole lot of them, with motivation talks to psych them up that this exam is not a joke.
Despite all of these, the Vice-Principal of Clemmy High School, is expecting a good performance from his students.
“ I am expecting a very good performance, we at Clemmy have a culture of thorough preparation, we have a 90-95 per cent of readiness for exams, so it’s not as totally starting afresh, it is just to revive what has been there, and we have successfully done that for those two weeks, but we only wish it was a lengthy time enough to still do that, but all the same we can still do with what we have.”
The story was not different at FemPaul College, students were already seated in the exam hall, with all necessary COVID -19 Protocols in place, a teacher in the school Mr Lekan Taudu, Said “ As you can see we have been observing the preventive measures, the social distancing is been observed, we have a running tap and sanitisers, the exam is going on very smoothly, there have not been any incident.”
He however, wish they could clamour for more time for the students to prepare for the exams, but is confident the students coped effectively with the time frame given them to prepare for the exams. He also added that the students have been able to keep abreast with what they have been taught before.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has opened a new vista in the Educational sector, unlike in the past; all students are seen sitting apart from one another in line with the Federal Government COVID-19 Protocol.
An approximately 1,550,000 candidates would be participating in this year’s examination spread across 19,129 centres nationwide.