About 24-years after the establishment of the National Examinations Council, NECO, the name has become a household name in the area of examination assessment.
In this report, DOOSUUR IWAMBE examined the feat recorded by Professor Ibrahim Dantani Wushishi seven months his appointment as registrar.
After President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Professor Dantani Wushishi as the substantive Registrar and Chief Executive of the National Examinations Council, NECO, on July 12, 2021, Wushishi in his remark promised to transform NECO.
Recall that NECO was established in 1999 and conducted its first Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) in 2000, many stakeholders in the education sector were then sceptical about the sustainability of the council and the credibility of its examination. The pioneer candidates were not sure if NECO results would be accepted by their chosen higher institutions. Some higher institutions in the country were said to have rejected the results initially.
However, the council did not relent in its determination to evolve into a world-class examination body and it’s currently the only home-grown public examination body in Nigeria responsible for conducting the SSCE, the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) for junior secondary schools, as well as the National Common Entrance examinations into federal government colleges.
Before NECO came on stream; breaking the monopoly of its main competitor, candidates would have had to wait for another year before getting the chance to write the GCE. The story is different today as results of examinations taken by students are usually released on time. Barely 7-months after the current Registrar, Professor Wushishi assumed office; he has initiated some policies and programmes that are yielding positive results.
One of the polices is to ensure ‘’successful conduct and timely release of the results of the 2021 National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE), successful conduct and timely release of the results of the 2021 Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) for school based candidates, successful conduct and timely release of the results of the 2021 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) for JSS 3 candidates.
Others include, ‘’Successful conduct of Trial Tested Items in some selected Secondary Schools across the Six Geo-Political Zones in the Country, successful conduct of Accreditation and Re-Accreditation of Secondary Schools across the Country and successful conduct of 2021 Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), for external candidates amongst others.
It might also interest you to know that the exam body had on Dec 21, 2021, commenced moves to make its examinations compulsory in schools across the 36 states of the federation.
The council, in a statement by its Head of Information and Public Relations Division, Mr Azeez Sani, said it has secured the approval of the Cross River State Government to make all Public Examinations conducted by NECO compulsory for all public schools in the state.
The examinations involved are the National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE), Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) in all their schools.
Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, gave the approval following a request made to that effect by Prof. Wushishi during a Courtesy Visit to the governor in Calabar.
The governor, who expressed satisfaction with the performance of Cross River Indigenes in NECO SSCE in the last five years, said there was the need for the state to key-in into all NECO Conducted examinations.
He commended NECO for improving on the quality of education in the country.
The governor assured the Council that the Cross River State government will continue to support NECO to enable her deliver on it’s mandate.
The NECO Registrar, Prof Wushishi had earlier commended the State government for its positive disposition to the council.
He explained that NECO being the only national indigenous examination body in the country deserves the support of all Nigerians.
Wushishi determine to provide robust welfare packages for staff
To ensure staffers of the examination body have a conducive working environment, Prof Wushishi recently approved retirement benefits for some staff, including provision of health support and assistance for burial expenses for staff, among others.
The NECO Registrar had through the Governing Board led by Dr. Abubakar Siddique, accorded staff welfare top priority by facilitating comprehensive life assurance packages for all staff, especially those involved in an accident during the course of the official assignment and for those who die in active service.
All staff due for promotion and who passed the prescribed examinations have been promoted for year 2021. Following the development of an ICT software to enhance and ensure fairness in posting of staff for assignments, there is relative calm and peace in Council now, as there nothing like favoritism in posting for assignment any longer.
Also, basic facilities such as toilets have been provided at the premises of the Department of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It should be noted that before now, staff of the Department visit nearby bush to ease themselves when pressed and the institution of Reward system for staff who distinguish themselves in the discharge of their responsibilities., A case in point is the Ebonyi state who was recently honoured by the Registrar.
NECO pays ad-hoc staff involved in 2021 SSCE
All ad-hoc workers who were involved in the conduct of the 2021 Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) for school based candidates were fully paid by NECO.
The ad-hoc staff includes 18,243 Supervisors, 887 Assistant Supervisors and 65,159 Examiners. The payment which commenced last week has been concluded.
The Management appreciates the invaluable contributions of the Supervisors and Examiners in the success story of the Council over the years, and reiterates its determination to strengthening the existing cordial relationship between them.
The Council however appeals to State Governments yet to pay the examination fees of their candidates who sat for the SSCE (Internal), to do so in order to facilitate the release of the result of such candidates.
It would be recalled that Prof. Wushishi had on October 29, 2021 announced the release of the results of the 2021 SSCE for School based candidates.
The Professor of Science Education was born on April 5, 1965, and hailed from Wushishi Local Government Area of Niger State. He was a lecturer in the Faculty of Education, Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, before joining the Federal University of Technology (FUT) Minna.
Mr Wushishi has held other positions including Post Graduate Coordinator, Department of Science Education, FUT, Minna; Sub-Dean School of Science and Science Education, FUT, Minna.
Others were Head of Department, Science Education, FUT Minna; Head of Department, Science Education, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai.
Until the appointment, Mr Wushishi was a Professor of Chemistry at the Federal University of Technology, Minna.