The West African Examinations Council has called of the Federal Government to consider examiners for national honours in appreciation of their contributions to the nation’s education development.
The council’s Registrar, Dr Iyi Uwadiae, made the call when he visited the Lagos Office of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday.
According to him, the examiners, remain one of the most critical components in the entire examination process and, therefore, deserve to be recognised.
Uwadiae, who is resident at the council’s headquarters in Ghana, added that he was aware that the stipend paid to the examiners was in no way comparable with the volume of job they do.
He said the task of marking examination scripts was also risky, but that they still weathered the storm.
“It is a statement of fact that the examiners, not only those in Nigeria, but of the entire member states, remain our backbone in the conduct of any of our examinations.
“We are aware that what we give them as stipends is nothing to write home about and we must admit that fact.
“Here in Nigeria, I will say the story is a little bit different because they are usually paid this same stipend after marking each paper.
“It is not the same in some other member countries where they even go as far as being owed that of the previous years.
“For the sake of emphasis, I have always said that what these examiners are doing is simply what I will call national service,’’ he said.
According to the registrar, the concept behind the sacrifice made by the examiners is likened to that of national service as there is no way the council can pay an amount that is commensurate with their services.
Uwadiae noted that the reason behind this was because the amount the council charged candidates for the examination was meagre and not economic rate.
“You know government moderates the rate we charge. So, we cannot really pay these examiners adequately, given the type of services they render.
“The examination processes are so large, ranging from commissioning of items to trial testing to moderation of items, printing and to the actual conduct of the examination.
“All these processes involve ad hoc staff, not WAEC.
“These persons are university professors and teachers and so, if indeed we want to pay them for their services, we will not be able to,’’ he said.
Uwadiae said the little amount charged by council was spread out to many other logistics and that the examiners are aware of that.
“They do so much only to receive nothing in return and that is why I am saying that these are the category of people government must start recognising because they are truly deserving of the honour.
“Any time I go to any member county and have the opportunity of meeting and talking to the examiners, I simply tell them that I know they are doing national service and that their reward will surely come from heaven,’’ he said.
Uwadiae added that in spite of the poor stipend, it had always remained a thing of joy that these examiners always honour WAEC invitation whenever their services were needed.
“I will indeed like to commend them for their patriotism and love for the nation and may the good Lord remember them for their deeds and reward them,’’ he prayed.
Receiving the Registrar, Mrs Kate Popoola, the Director and Head of Lagos Office of NAN, commended the contributions of the council to education development of the West African countries.
Popoola highlighted the functions of NAN as a media content provider for its teaming clientele within and outside Nigeria.
She sought partnership with WAEC in the dissemination of valuable information about the operations of the council through the agency’s media products and services.