The 58th Annual Meeting of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has ended in Monrovia, Liberia with the election of Liberia’s Deputy Minister of Education and Chief Government Nominee on Council, Honourable (Mrs.) Hester Williams-Catakaw, as Vice-Chairman for a one-year tenure. She succeeds Mr. Sheku T. Tamu of Sierra Leone.
The meeting, which was held from Tuesday, March 23 to Friday, March 26, 2010, was formally declared open by Her Excellency, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Liberia, who was however, represented by the Vice President.
In a keynote address presented on her behalf by the Vice President, Dr. Joseph N. Boakai, Madam President welcomed delegates and stated that hosting the meeting was an indication of Liberia’s commitment to WAEC. She acknowledged with appreciation the huge sacrifices made by West African countries to ensure peace in Liberia, adding that WAEC had contributed immensely to the Sub-region through manpower training and human resource development.
President Johnson-Sirleaf disclosed that Liberia’s Ministry of Education was collaborating with WAEC to actualise the dream of Liberian candidates to sit the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) as from 2011, adding that Liberia would further strengthen ties with WAEC to obtain the Council’s assistance in the implementation of her education reforms.
She commended WAEC for executing its mandate creditably and urged parents, teachers and stakeholders in education to devise effective measures against examination malpractice and inculcate in school children the virtue of honesty in preparation for future responsibilities.
The week-long meeting was attended by delegates from all the member countries. They included the nominees of governments, representatives of ministries/departments of education, universities, teachers’ associations, and other interests.
Council, which is the highest organ of the organization, holds its meeting annually in rotation among the five member countries, namely, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
At the 58th Meeting, Council reviewed the activities and operations of the five National Offices and received reports from its International Committees. It also took decisions on diverse issues that would strengthen its service delivery systems and set the agenda for the successful execution of its mandate in the year ahead.
Council received reports from the Chief Government Nominees on the actions being taken by their respective governments for the development of education and noted with delight that the member governments were well focused and were making laudable efforts that could fulfil the educational aspirations of the citizens of the sub-region.
It appealed to international organizations and donor agencies as well as corporate bodies and patriotic private individuals to complement the efforts of governments at expanding access to education and raising the level of academic attainment by school pupils in the sub-region.
Council commended the Secretariat for achieving remarkable advancement in the deployment of ICT which had further enhanced the Council’s service delivery, especially with regard to accurate data capture and prompt release of candidates’ results and certificates.
It noted with appreciation the diffusion of best practices among its National Offices and called for further strengthening of the existing strong ties between the Ministries of Education and WAEC National Offices in the Sub-region.
The Annual Council Meeting was preceded by the 15th in the series of the Annual WAEC Endowment Fund Lectures titled “The West African Examinations Council: Pan Africanism, Gender and Development” and delivered by Dr. D. Evelyn S. Kandakai, former Minister of Education, Republic of Liberia.
At the opening ceremony, three candidates, all from Ghana, received the WAEC Excellence Awards for outstanding performance in the May/June 2009 WASSCE taken by a total of 1,520,319 candidates in The Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The candidates were Master Frank Adu-Poku (1st Prize), Miss Maame Afua Otua Ofori (2nd Prize) and Miss Fathia Karim (3rd Prize). Master Frank Adu-Poku also won the Augustus Bandele Oyediran Award for the Best Candidate in West Africa.
Council congratulated the Republic of Ghana on winning the three prizes of the WAEC Excellence Awards and the Augustus Bandele Oyediran Award for two consecutive years (2008 and 2009) and urged education administrators in the member countries to adopt from one another effective practices and programmes that could guarantee equal empowerment for all candidates sitting the WASSCE.
The award of ‘Distinguished Friend of Council’ was conferred on Mr. Jefferson D. Lewis, former Head of National Office of WAEC, Liberia.
Head, Public Affairs
Public Affairs Unit
March 30, 2010