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WAEC Set To Introduce CBT For WASSCE

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The West African Examinations Council says plans to introduce the Computer Based Test mode in the administration of its examinations are at an advanced stage.

The Head of National Office, Mr Patrick Areghan, gave the hint in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Lagos.

Areghan was speaking against the backdrop of notable achievements and advancements of the council under his watch, as he prepared to bow out of office on Oct. 1.

He would be bowing out after completing his three-year tenure.



Areghan said that introducing the CBT mode of administrating some of the council’s examinations had been part of his vision for the body.

”We have already started something in terms of CBT examination. We have gone far with our planning and all of that, even in the sub-region, the registrar to the council is also doing something.

“But this is not as easy as some people will think. This is because we ask ourselves, how do we conduct CBT for practicals and essay papers?

“We can only readily do that in the case of objective questions. But so many people will not see it from that angle. They argue that some others are doing it, so why can’t WAEC do the same?

“Now, no one even talks about energy; how many schools are exposed to computer literacy? How many have computer facilities and how many have electricity to run these things?

“Even where you have all these things on the ground, how do you handle the issue of theory and practical papers? So, these are the issues, but that is what I want the council to do very shortly.

“We should be able to conduct CBT examinations, even if it means starting with the objective questions,” he said.

The outgoing WAEC boss noted that already, the council had concluded introducing the administration of its examination using the CBT platform under his watch, in no distant time, starting with the objective questions and later theory and practicals.

“But you can still be sure that not all schools will be ready. Maybe we can have a segregated market. Those who cannot afford the CBT will go for the pencil and paper mode.

“So, I would like to see WAEC in that light,” he said.

Areghan said aside from the introduction of the CBT, he would also like to see all the operations of the council fully digitalised shortly.

He noted that almost every section of the council had been digitalised under his watch.

“I have almost digitalised everywhere now. Talk of certificate, checking of results verification of results and more.



“I will live to see more massive deployment of technology so that the vision of the council can change from just being a world-class examination body to a technology-driven examination body.



“I also want WAEC to be more visible on the international stage. I want to see, through the cooperation of the sub-region, how we can take WAEC overseas, that is, how Nigerian children in the diaspora can sit for WASSCE overseas.



“That, again, is what I want WAEC to do very shortly. That is one thing I wanted to do under my watch, but, again like I said, it needs the cooperation of the sub-region, not just Nigeria, to take WASSCE overseas.



“I also want to see its digital certificate that we have successfully launched in Nigeria replicated in the entire sub-region, so that any candidate that has taken WASSCE, can be in any part of the world to access the digital certificate; that is a legacy.

“For instance, if your certificate gets missing, soaked, destroyed by fire and so on, with one touch on the bottom, it appears.



“For me, this is a great legacy,” the WAEC boss stated.



He also stated that the council’s Digital Security Printing Press is another milestone achievement under his watch.



According to him, after 71 years of the council’s existence, the introduction of the digital security printing press is a worthy legacy.



This is alongside other internal ones, such as the Staff Bus scheme, meant to cushion the effect of high transportation fares, occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal, he said.



“We are going to do more to motivate staff. I am counting on my successor to follow suit, being a very committed and intelligent person. It is my prayer that he achieves more than me,” he stated.



Speaking on his greatest achievement, Areghan highlighted the successful conduct of examinations, release of results within stipulated time and printing and release of certificates to deserving candidates as key.



“That is my greatest achievement. That is because when you work in the council and you fail to conduct any examination, no matter the other levels of achievements, you have failed.



“So, I give God all the glory that I have been able to conduct all the examinations, even in the COVID-19 years, from 2020 to 2023,” the outgoing council boss told NAN.



NAN

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EDUCATION

Another Nigerian flies in brilliant colours in distant Australia

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Nigerians have continued to show their stellar intelligence and continue to make waves globally in different areas of academics. Recently at the University of Queensland graduation ceremonies, Abdulrasaq Ogunyale stood out tall, graduating with distinction in Master of Peace and Conflict Studies achieving a unique feat of cumulative GPA of 6.25.

The University of Queensland, Australia, ranked among the top 50 universities globally and recently named the leading university in Australia by the Australian Financial Review’s inaugural Best University Ranking, graduated several students across disciplines this December. Upon graduation, the fresh graduates joined the UQ alum community of over 330,000 changemakers in 190 countries. Abdulrasaq Olatunde Ogunyale, widely addressed as Tunde Ogunyale, is one of the latest graduates at the university, and he completed his Master of Peace and Conflict Studies programme with Distinction. Prior to his UQ adventure, Tunde had graduated with a degree in law from the prestigious University of Ibadan. His journey from UI to UQ is a road marked with brilliance.

His passion for impact had seen him positioned to tackle one of Nigeria’s endemic problems as he founded the Peacepace Initiative, a youth-led nongovernmental organisation that promotes peace in Nigeria. A lawyer, mediator, cybersecurity advisor, and founding director at Peacepace Initiative. Tunde Ogunyale believes peace is not one-way traffic, so he leads his team in executing relevant projects cutting across peace education, human rights, good governance, and quality education. Abdulrasaq completed his master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies through the prestigious and competitive Rotary Peace Fellowship scholarship of the Rotary Foundation.

As a Rotary Peace Fellow, he gained incredible experiences and skills from various engagements at the Rotary Peace Center, University of Queensland. His fellowship also allowed him to undertake an Applied Field Experience, which he completed with the Institute for Economics and Peace at their global headquarters in Sydney, where he improved his understanding of positive peace. Aside from his general legal practice, he plans to continue to inspire hope through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), peace education, and security engagements.

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EDUCATION

Airtel and UNICEF Express Delight at Progress of Re-imagine Education Program in Nigeria

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L-R: Non-Executive Director, Airtel Africa, Annika Poutiaineh; Non-Executive Director, Airtel Africa, Awuneba Ajunogobia; Non-Executive Director, Airtel Africa, John Danilovich; Group Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa, Segun Ogunsanya; Head Teacher, Oremeji Primary School II, Mrs. Anokam Caroline; Chief of Lagos Office, UNICEF, Celine Lafoucriere; Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Carl Cruz during a working visit to Oremeji Primary School II, Ajegunle, to assess progress of the Airtel/UNICEF Reimagine Education initiative on Tuesday, September 26th 2023

Lagos, Nigeria; Tuesday, 26th September 2023 – Airtel and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have expressed their satisfaction and delight at the progress rate of the Re-imagine Education program in Nigeria, describing the students’ enthusiasm and improved learning outcomes as proof to the effectiveness of the initiative. This was revealed during a joint visit of both organizations to Oremeji Primary School, Ajegunle, as part of the activities to assess the impact of the program on the learning outcomes of the students.

The delegation, which was led by the Group Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa, Segun Ogunsanya; had Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Carl Cruz; , UNICEF Chief of Lagos Field Office, Celine Lafoucriere; and other corporate leaders from Airtel and UNICEF engaged teachers, pupils, and school administrators to evaluate the impact of the program on the learning outcomes of the students.

In his remark at event, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa, Segun Ogunsanya described the pace of activity witnessed at Oremeji Primary School as impressive.

“As a business, we have focused on education as a key area of our Corporate Social Responsibility, and this far-reaching partnership with UNICEF helps us to accelerate results. So far, we are pleased that this partnership which is aimed at advancing the education agenda on the continent through facilitating connectivity and online access, is also driving change,” he said.

Corroborating Ogunsanya’s thoughts, Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Carl Cruz, noted that the visit to the school is a testament to Airtel’s commitment to ensuring the impact of the Re-Imagine Education project, while the students’ enthusiasm and improved learning outcomes are proof to the efficacy of the initiative.

“Our commitment is the reason we have come as a full team, to pay a visit and be well acquainted with how much this project has impacted both the teachers and students of Oremeji Primary School, and we are delighted to see the tangible impact of the Re-imagine Education program. At Airtel, education, especially digital learning, forms a significant part of our sustainability agenda for Nigeria and Africa at large and we will stop at nothing to bridge the huge digital gap that currently exists in many primary schools across the country,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, UNICEF Chief of Lagos Field Office, Celine Lafoucriere, emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts to reimagine education.

“We are happy to join hands with Airtel in improving the digital learning landscape to create a brighter future for children and young people in Nigeria. We believe every child deserves an equal opportunity to learn and thrive; we will continue working together to provide innovative solutions that empower children to fulfill their potential,” Lafoucriere said.

The visit provided an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the digital tools and resources provided to the school as part of the program. Teachers and pupils showcased how they have been utilizing these resources to create engaging and interactive learning experiences, promoting critical thinking and creativity among students.

The Airtel/UNICEF Re-imagine Education program which officially kicked off in Nigeria in December 2022, aims to transform education, leveraging the power of technology to enhance teaching and learning experiences for children across the country. With a shared vision of empowering children through education, Airtel and UNICEF have been working together to provide innovative solutions that bridge the digital divide and create equal opportunities for all children.

Both organizations disclosed that they will continue to work hand in hand to expand the program’s reach, bringing the benefits of technology-enabled education to more schools and communities across the country. In line with this, Airtel disclosed that 109 more schools have been added to the list of beneficiaries in Nigeria.

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EDUCATION

Fidelity Bank to help Schools prepare for New School Session with Edu Loan Product

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As the summer break winds down, leading financial institution, Fidelity Bank Plc, has emphasised its devotion to help schools prepare adequately for the next session and deliver quality education.



Through its bespoke product known as the Fidelity Edu Loan, administrators of registered private primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria can access loans of up to N180million.



In a chat with journalists, Divisional Head, Product Development, Fidelity Bank Plc, Osita Ede said, “At Fidelity Bank, we recognize the pivotal role quality education plays in the development of any nation and this informed our introduction of the Fidelity Edu Loan. Through the offering, privately-run educational institutions can access loans at a friendly rate for working capital needs like minor renovation on their school property, financing the purchase of school supplies like books, teaching materials, furniture or uniforms; and making salary payments.



“Similarly, schools can leverage the Fidelity Edu Loan to purchase fixed assets like school buses, generators and construct new school buildings.

To be eligible for the product, the requesting customer must have operated their educational institution for at least three years and should be duly registered with the relevant authorities.



“The Fidelity Edu Loan is part of our larger education finance proposition at Fidelity Bank as we aim to empower everyone within the education ecosystem, including the schools, parents and contractors, with amazing financial and non-financial products and services.



For instance, we have the Fidelity Personal loan which provides instant loans of up to N5million to employees of private and public organisations by simply dialing *770*08# from their mobile phones. This can become handy for paying school fees or meeting other personal needs”, explained Ede.



Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria with over 8million customers serviced across its 250 business offices and digital banking channels. The bank was recently recognized as the Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking & Finance Awards. The bank has also won awards for the “Fastest Growing Bank” and “MSME & Entrepreneurship Financing Bank of the Year” at the 2021 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.

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