By Florence Ebebe, News Editor
The outgoing Registrar of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) headquartered in Ghana, Dr. Iyi Uwadiae, on Wednesday engaged the press in a Tele-conference where he reeled his numerous achievements as the multi-national examination body’s 12th Chief Executive Officer.
Uwadiae who joined WAEC on November 1, 1985, rising rapidly to the council’s headship started by acknowledging that he was very fortunate, all through his tenure, to have a crop of heads of national office, heads of department at the headquarters and other dedicated principal officers that rallied around him to form the formidable team which moved the council’s wheel of progress.
Said he:“we took up the challenge of terminating the seemingly endless sojourn of the headquarters in the premises of the Ghana National Office and boldly implemented some difficult initiatives, which saw to the completion of the 15-year-old Headquarters Office Complex project and facilitated the physical occupation of the edifice by Headquarters’ staff in December 2016.
“In the spirit of the Council’s strategic plan, we intensified effective communication and interactions with all stakeholders across the sub-region. As a result of the efforts, the relationships between the Council and the various member governments and their functionaries improved tremendously, giving room for stronger ties among the nations, better cooperation with relevant ministries/departments/agencies.
He said this resulted to wider collaborations on diverse educational matters and excellent service delivery to the stakeholders.
The WAEC helmsman expressed delight that after five years of piloting, the Secretariat successfully persuaded the government of Liberia to adopt WASSCE fully with effect from 2018, thereby phasing out the Liberia Senior High School Certificate Examination (LSHSCE), adding that the council however, extended the conduct of LSHSCE for Private Candidates till 2019 to provide a further opportunity for the remnants of the examination.
He recalled that the council continued to expand its consultancy services, demonstrating the capacity for more functions and responsibilities in all its offices, causing some member governments who had created new examinations to assign their conduct to the council.
He said the council’s efforts at making inroads into the neighbouring non-WAEC member countries like the Republic of Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali also paid off, as more schools and candidates in those countries were attracted to the Council’s examination.
In order to satisfy the educational aspirations of some stakeholders in the member countries, Uwadiae stated that the Secretariat had introduced additional diets of WASSCE and BECE for private candidates.
“We introduced in the private candidates’ examinations a facility for admitting on-the-spot candidates who were unable to enrol within the designated registration period. We also created attestation of results, which is a replacement as good as the original, to alleviate the challenges faced by former candidates whose original certificates are missing or destroyed.
“We remained focused on full migration into digital administration of examinations and the march towards this ultimate goal progressed significantly. To this end, WAEC-owned CBT installations have continued to spring up for use by the Council and public/private institutions/organisations while e-marking software and equipment have been deployed for the marking of selected subject papers.
“The Secretariat paid the deserved attention to the issue of examination leakage and resolved to settle for nothing short of total eradication of the nuisance.
This resolve, he explained, made the council to pursue the attainment of a status of self-reliance in printing services which could guarantee, “our set target of 100% in-house printing of question papers. As at now, each national office has reached a certain stage in the establishment of an in-house printing press.
“Other types of malpractice also received our deepest reflection, as the Council constructed or furnished for use its own standard/model examination halls in places like Lagos and Benin City in Nigeria, Accra, Cape Coast, Wa and Koforidua in Ghana and Tubmanburg in Liberia, addded.
He further stated that the council remained relentless in the deployment of technology in the its operations, as tighter security was built around examination materials and conduct of candidates, capturing of data and detection of irregularities at examination centres.
“Constrained papers were also introduced to stifle cheating at the examinations. We successfully reduced the period for the processing of the results of WASSCE for School Candidates from an average of 84 days in the past to barely 45 days, and the compression is still ongoing, Uwadiae stated.
He said his management team also gave priority to staff welfare as motivation received constant attention, and in an effort to enhance the safety and comfort of examiners who travel in groups across borders between Ghana and Nigeria or within both countries to render service to the Council, the council procured two Mercedes Benz luxury buses for the trips in the years ahead.
He went on to talk of evolving a sustained culture of paperless meetings with the preparation and circulation of electronic folders for all committee and staff meetings across the member countries.
“We now disseminate information and communicate worldwide through our well-maintained websites, subscribed telephone networks, the social media and other electronic and internet based channels. We also went some way further by implementing the Tele-conferencing Project, which had remained in the pipeline for quite a while.
‘It gives me great pleasure, as we together with you launch today this Tele-conferencing Project for the Council. The facility is already functional in three offices – WAEC Headquarters, Accra, WAEC International Office, Lagos and The Gambia National Office, Banjul. When it is fully connected in all the member countries, we are confident that the facility will prove to be cost effective in all respects, Uwadiae reasoned.
He reeled out various construction projects, which include the construction of permanent sites of some zonal and branch offices in Nigeria and Ghana, construction of a two-storey office block in Gambia, renovation and furnishing of facilities in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The Ghana National Office also successfully completed and commissioned a hotel facility in Accra, while the Headquarters acquired two bungalows in Accra to commence the provision of council-owned residential accommodation for the deserving categories of expatriate and Ghanaian staff of the headquarters.
He thanked journalists in the member countries for being partners in progress and all staff of WAEC, including those who have retired after contributing to the success of the Council for many years.
Before becoming the council’s Registrar, a position he held for seven years, he had served in various positions, before his promotion to the rank of Deputy Registrar in 2003, and then to the headship of the council’s Research Division and headquarters office, Lagos in 2005. Subsequently, on February 4, 2008 he was appointed the Head of Nigeria National Office of the Council, a position he held for over four years.
At the end of the tenure of the then Registrar, Alhaja (Mrs.) Mulikat Bello, he was appointed to succeed her on October 1, 2012 for a five-year tenure. At the expiration the five-year tenure in September 2017, he was granted a two-year extension of contract by the council, which ends on Monday, September 30, 2019.