The National Examinations Council, NECO says it has deployed cutting-edge software to ensure efficient grading of students and candidates in its various examinations.
Professor Dantani Wushishi, the Registrar/Chief Executive of NECO, disclosed this in Minna, Niger State, during a press briefing to mark his one year in office.
Recall that the Professor of Science Education was appointed as the Registrar of NECO on 12 July, 2021 by President Muhammadu Buhari, and he assumed office on the 26th of the same month.
However, speaking on the new grading system, Wushishi said the software would ensure precise grade value for every subject.
He said: “One of the innovations that will bring to bear in the conduct of the examination is determining the way and manner we determine the grade number, which relates to the allocation of grades for various subjects to students.
“Formerly, it was done manually, and there are processes that are followed in doing that manually, but when I came, I felt it is necessary to align ourselves and some of our operations with the in-thing, which is technology, and we felt there is need for us to have a software that will enable us to determine precisely real values for subjects after our exams. so we had a workshop for that and we were able to now deploy standard software to determine grade and marking.”
On the successes recorded in recent times in the conduct of the school-based Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) and its external version, Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) as well as the National Common Entrance Examination of unity schools, Wushishi said NECO has been able to put in place mechanisms to drastically reduce cases of malpractice and other challenges.
The NECO boss listed some of the measures to include the deployment of robust security surveillance for exam papers and officials, improved welfare mechanisms for staff and examiners, use of foolproof software in the selection of NECO staff on monitoring duties, among others.
“In 2020, we had over 30,000 cases of exam malpractice. In 2021 we had just about 20,000, and this year and this year we have confidence it will reduce to the barest minimum. In our last BECE, the malpractice was about 600 cases, and this year it was less than 100,” he said.
He, however, lamented that the initial placement of NECO on the list of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), that remit 25 percent of generated revenue to government coffers took a toll on the exam body’s activities.
Wushishi said though NECO was removed from the list in June 2022, over N6 billion was deducted from its Treasury Single Account (TSA) when it was on the list, adding that the exam body needs money to meet its obligations.
“From 2021 to date, to June (this year), the Minister of Finance has deducted from NECO’s Treasury Single Account, the total of N6,023,145,000:23K.
“We also need to pursue that this money removed, that the 50 percent is supposed to be taken as operating surplus and give us the rest to settle our debts, so we have another battle for the reconciliation,” he said.