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Four in Police Custody over Sale of Leaked WASSCE Exam Questions

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Four in Police Custody over Sale of Leaked WASSCE Exam Questions

By Dipo Olowookere

Four persons have been arrested in Ondo, Edo and Osun States for selling leaked WASSCE May/June, 2018 Examination questions to candidates writing the examination.

The suspects, accused of retailing the exam questions on websites and whatsapps platforms, were apprehended by operatives of Rapid Response Squad (RSS).

According to the security operatives who napped them, the suspects are Samuel Kayode, 28-year-old from Ondo State; Adebayo Ifeoluwa, 17-year-old from Osun State; Alayande Ahmed; and Elusode Festus, 20 years from Edo State. They were all arrested in their respective states.

Samuel Kayode, a part time teacher in two secondary schools in Ilesa, Osun State, disclosed that he also taught Physics and Mathematics in a private tutorial class where he assisted candidates planning to write the WASSCE examination with questions already prepared answers for them.

According to Samuel, after working as a tutorial teacher for seven years, he got a part-time employment in two private schools in Ilesa, where he also helped students preparing for WASSCE with leaked questions and prepared answers, adding that he did this to make a living.

“I got a part-time teaching job when I couldn’t secure a government teaching job after graduating from college of education. When I couldn’t settle for the little salary I was being paid by my employers, I decided to help myself with what I had been doing as a tutorial teacher by helping lazy students source for WASSCE examination questions and answers via some online platforms that deal in the illegal business.

“After registering candidates in their various centers, I then liaise with some anonymous people who we call ‘Web Masters’. The Web Masters have insiders in various examination boards in the country with leaked questions paper and buy such from them,” he explained.

“There are many websites operated by the Web Masters, where leaked WASSCE questions and prepared answers are sold to subscribing candidates. Some of these websites include; www.examloaded.com, www.guruscamp.com, www. ceebook.net, www. Solutionclass.com and www.expotab.com.

“They also hawk NECO, GCE and JAMB examinations papers with answers”, he added.

He explained further that, “The contact person on Web Master is called ‘Dan’ who doesn’t pick calls but only deals on text messages and WhatsApp messages. Mr Dan usually sells answers via WhatsApp or issues a quick login password that can be issued on the website and immediately redirect the user to the page where the already prepared answers are.

“I then retail the answers bought from Mr Dan to candidates who I coordinate carefully on a WhatsApp platform named ‘WAEC VIP’ where they patiently wait to receive the answers to the question after sending to me a N400 recharge cards of any network.

“I demand for N400 recharge card from each candidates for general subject while I charge N800 for Mathematics and English language”

In his own confession, Adebayo Ifeoluwa, 17 years and 200 level Accounting student of the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) said he sold leaked WASSCE examination questions and answers to a group on WhatsApp called ‘MCC’ where candidates payed a recharge card of N400 to get examination questions and answers.

“Sometime this year, just before the on-going WASSCE examination, I belonged to a sports betting WhatsApp group where we forecast results of games. One of the members therein sent a broadcast about how to get WASSCE questions and left a WhatsApp link which I joined before thinking of creating my own ‘MCC’ after a thoughtful assumption of how profitable the venture looks”.

Also, Elusode Festus from Ekpoma in Edo State failed school certificate examination before becoming an apprentice at a Welding and metal fabrication shop, also chose the retailing of leaked WASSCE questions and answers as a side hustle.

The 22 year Elusode said he got to know about the deal on a website where he downloaded songs before a pop up advert asked anyone who wants to receive exam result to click, which he did and also registered on the platform so as to start the retailing of the answers among candidates in the area.

On his own part, Alayande Ahmad, said “I got to know about WASSCE questions and answers racketeering on a website after dropping out of secondary at SS2 due to lack of funds but I promised to assist my friends who were preparing to sit for WASSCE at all cost.

I contacted an admin on a WhatsApp group where answers were being sold to candidates who registered with him after sending to him a N400 recharge card. The subscribers receive questions and answers few hours before their examination”.

Parading the suspect, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Imohimi Edgal advised parents to monitor their wards preparing for examination instead of indulging them in examination malpractices.

The suspects have been transferred to the State CID for further investigations.

This arrest came after Punch newspaper published an article revealing how some candidates register with some websites to get questions and answers of WASSCE exam before sitting for it.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Education

Education Sector and Nigeria’s Revolving Underdevelopment Doors

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Increase Funding to Education

By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi

One recent occurrence that typifies the nation’s education sector as an area in urgent need of help is the current shoddy state of Ologbo Primary and Secondary Schools, Ologbo, Obarentin community in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State, formerly called Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria Primary and Secondary School, Ologbo.

In addition to signalling the gory tale of poor leadership, neglect and outright abandonment of responsibility by the Edo State government, the pictures and accompanying commentaries diverted attention from real threat deserving of healthy and appropriate fear, the federal government’s protracted inability to resolve their impasse with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). It is more than anything else the ugly awareness at the school sowed confusion that portrays the Edo state as a state where leadership has drained people’s will and is now left with weakened rational character.

Expectedly also, many have risen in staunch defence of the Governor; saying that blame in the present circumstance may not be the smart thing to do; for when the verdict is passed on someone, it blocks the possibility of knowing who the person is and definitely creates biases, sentiments, prejudice, and also makes the mind become impervious and closed towards either seeing the good sides of the person or the bad sides of the person.

To others, the Governor should in the interim be excused because when it comes to making decisions or pursuing purposeful initiatives, leaders naturally fall victim to the trap of unexpected limitations such as inadequate funds among others.

To the rest, achieving sustainable development in a sector such as education is a systemic thing that takes time. Therefore, the Governor needs to be allowed more time to perform before subjecting his performance to critical scrutiny.

Whatever the true position may be, the truth is this piece’s latest condemnation of Governor Obaseki’s poor leadership habit is both natural, neutral and perceptual.

The reason is simple. Experience via observation has shown that in Nigeria, particularly in the Niger Delta region, leaders are never mentally prepared for the task of leadership. They seem to forget that the more preparation, planning and activation of the execution process they make, the better they perform in the task of leadership.

Supporting the above assertion is the awareness that when one spends time thinking about how we approach leadership in Nigeria and asks important questions about how leaders in Nigeria set their priorities, time and funds, it becomes easy to situate the fact that the hallmark of poor performance in Nigeria is not Obaseki specific.

Take, as an illustration, a while ago, in a particular intervention, this author highlighted pictures of a similar shoddy state and wicked neglect of Oyoko Primary School, Abavo, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta state.

Like the Ologbo Primary and secondary schools situation, the referenced piece underlined disturbing pictures which showed visibly distressed structures with fallen ceilings, windows and doors. The piece concluded by concluding that from the pictures and accompanying commentaries, it cannot be characterized as an overstatement to describe such a ‘scene’ as deplorable, dehumanizing, troubling, in bad light bracingly in contravention of the international best standards and most importantly, a reality that all well-meaning Deltans including our dear Governor should worry about.

Broadly speaking, there are so many reasons why this author is particularly interested in bringing to the fore these poor courses of action/ inaction chosen ahead of logic by the public authority to address the nation’s education sector; their definition of the problem, the goals to be achieved, or the means chose to address the problems and to achieve the goals.

By analysing each of these elements, in turn, it becomes easy to understand the essential ingredients that made great nations what they are today, as well as answer questions as to why others, such as Nigeria, are unsuccessful.

To explain this point, it is believed that policies, plans and strategies are fundamental to the progress and development of countries, yet, right from independence, the problem with education in the country very much lies with underfunding, payment of lip service to, and inconsistency in policies driven by several panels set up by the government to recommend measures to enhance the quality of education in the country.  This problem is not so much with the recommendations of the various panels but their poor implementation by those entrusted to do so.

If not bad policy and poor implementation, how do we explain governments’ inability to heed the United Nations Educational Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) budgetary recommendation on education? What other expression shall we say of a country’s education where researches are not adequately funded and yet, the President allowed hundreds of millions to go into replacing his plates and cutlery yearly? And what shall we expect from an educational ministry headed by someone who is not an educationist? This may however not be the only explanation.

As to what should be done, we must recognize two realities.

First and very fundamental, that is like in a business where no organization can grow consistently faster than its ability to get enough of the right people to implement such growth. likewise, we must admit that with the education sector’s present state, it will be difficult if not impossible to develop disruptive or constructive concepts that can shatter set patterns of thinking and provide solutions to the nagging challenges in the country until policymakers consider education as the bedrock of development; that with sound educational institutions, a country is as good as made -as the institutions will turn out all rounded manpower to continue with the development of a hyper-modern society driven by well thought out ideas, policies, programmes and projects. But such a tendency is clearly different here.

Secondly, policymakers must admit the fact that our children enjoy the right to education as recognized by a number of international conventions, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which recognizes a compulsory primary education for all, an obligation to develop secondary education accessible to all, as well as the progressive introduction of free higher education/obligation to develop equitable access to higher education.

The nation must stop playing ‘casino’ with funding of the sector, and in its place, come to the realization that it is our collective responsibility to ensure that our schools work and our children are properly educated at the right time and place.

As to closing the nation’s revolving underdevelopment door, there is an urgent need to rework the university system to meet the manpower demand by the industrial sector as a strategic consequence of this failure has made Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions in the country continue to turn out, every year several thousands of graduates that the industry does not need. This is made worse by the fact that there is a nation where uncalculated importance is attached to the possession of university degrees as against the possession of skills necessary for self-reliance and national development.

Utomi Jerome-Mario is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), a Lagos-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). He can be reached via Jeromeutomi@yahoo.com/08032725374

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Education

Ericsson Backs Smart Africa Digital Academy for Digital Transformation

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Smart Africa Digital Academy

Ericsson has partnered with the Smart Africa Secretariat to promote digital transformation across Africa. The tech firm will use the Smart Africa Digital Academy (SADA) to achieve this goal.

The collaboration aims to enhance the digital skills of an initial target group of senior officials from ministries and regulatory authorities in charge of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) by availing the Ericsson Educate program. The program is expected to later extend to the youth, students, and professionals, particularly educators.

With SADA being an initiative of the Smart Africa Alliance, an alliance spanning 32 African countries that aim to accelerate sustainable socio-economic development in Africa, the collaboration will have a far-reaching impact across the continent.

It will equip the public administrations of each member state with the latest information to enhance their knowledge and competencies around emerging digital technologies, which will support them in establishing impactful digital skill development roadmaps and strategies.

The Ericsson Educate program has been curated and customized to support SADA’s target audience’s ongoing digital skills development.

With rich content on 21st-century technologies such as 5G networks, Internet of Things (IoT), Automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML), the Ericsson Educate program will provide in addition to the digital skills portal developed by Ericsson, various series of live online workshops led by technology experts from Ericsson.

The Ericsson Educate program aims to empower the continent’s policymakers to develop harmonized digital transformation frameworks that will ensure a prosperous future for Africa in the digital age.

Lacina Koné, the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of Smart Africa, commented: “We are committed to bridging digital skill gaps across Africa to ensure the inclusive digital development of the continent.

“We are confident that the Ericsson Educate program will support us in accelerating our mission and nurturing an ecosystem of ICT specialized training that will increase digital proficiency across our member states.

“Through the program, we look forward to empowering policy and decision-makers with adequate knowledge of the latest digital technologies to make informed decisions that propel the continent in the digital era.”

Erik Ekudden, Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer, and Head of Strategy at Ericsson, says, “We strongly believe that mobile technologies have the potential to level the global playing field and contribute to the long-term and sustainable economic development of Africa.

“Collaborating with SADA to enhance the digital competencies of policy and decision-makers in each member state, we aspire to empower the development of a well-planned ICT policy and regulatory environment that increases Africa’s competitiveness in the global economy.”

Ericsson has been a private sector member of the Smart Africa Alliance since 2016, actively contributing to key projects aimed at the digital development of the continent. Through this latest collaboration with SADA, Ericsson reaffirms its commitment to Africa’s digital inclusion and adoption to drive digital transformation and education across the continent.

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Education

Project Shelter Wakadogo Makes World’s Best School Prize Final 3

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Ugandan school Project Shelter Wakadogo

An outstanding Ugandan school has been named a Top 3 finalist for the new $250,000 World’s Best School Prizes, launched this year by T4 Education in collaboration with Templeton World Charity Foundation, Accenture and American Express.

Project Shelter Wakadogo in Gulu, Uganda, which was founded in the wake of war and now educates over 450 children with one of the highest student retention rates in the country, is a Top 3 finalist for the World’s Best School Prize for Overcoming Adversity.

The five World’s Best School Prizes – for Community Collaboration, Environmental Action, Innovation, Overcoming Adversity, and Supporting Healthy Lives – celebrate schools everywhere for the pivotal role they play in developing the next generation of learners and for their enormous contribution to society’s progress especially in the wake of COVID.

The Prizes were founded by T4 Education in collaboration with Templeton World Charity Foundation, Accenture, American Express, Yayasan Hasanah, the Lemann Foundation, D2L, Mellby Gård, and Universidad Camilo José Cela, to share the best practices of schools that are transforming the lives of their students and making a real difference to their communities.

Vikas Pota, Founder of T4 Education and the World’s Best School Prizes, said, “As the world looks to rebuild from the devastation of the COVID pandemic, far too many children will continue to be left behind unless we see urgent action on education. Leaders must learn from the knowledge and experience contained within our schools because those on the frontlines of education know better than anyone else the change we need to see.

“The World’s Best School Prizes surface the expertise of inspirational schools from every corner of the globe. It’s time for governments everywhere to listen to their voices.

“Congratulations to Project Shelter Wakadogo for being named a Top 3 finalist for the first-ever World’s Best School Prizes. Teachers everywhere will be inspired by the example of this outstanding Ugandan school.”

About the school:

Project Shelter Wakadogo in Gulu, Uganda, has flourished from a school with only two classrooms founded in the wake of war to now educating over 450 children with one of the highest student retention rates in the country.

In the aftermath of two decades of civil war and the violence committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army, which displaced over a million people in Northern Uganda, families in the village of Pece Acoyo in Gulu were slowly returning to their homes. Amongst the wreckage left by the war, calls for a safe, quality school began to grow. Through a large community effort Project Shelter Wakadogo was born – land was procured, roads leading to the school were levelled and vegetables were planted to be used for school meals. In 2009, the school opened. The name Wakadogo reflects the school’s mission to extend a duty of care to those who walked through its doors, meaning ‘for the little ones’ in Swahili.

Its commitment to provide free school meals, healthcare and a quality education for the surrounding community, has seen the school become a second home for many.

When Uganda imposed a long lockdown during the pandemic, Project Shelter Wakadogo quickly determined that online schooling wouldn’t be possible for its students. In Uganda, only 2% of the population has access to personal computers and less than 9% of the rural population has access to the internet. Instead, Project Shelter Wakadogo pivoted to conducting 36,000 home-schooling lessons during the pandemic. This dedication to continue to provide education to its students was crucial as the school closures across Uganda saw children forced into the labour market, a rise in teenage pregnancy and gender-based violence.

If Project Shelter Wakadogo were to win the $50,000 World’s Best School Prize for Overcoming Adversity, it will use the funds to set up a Computer Lab with 50 laptops and 50 tablets and solar technology to teach information technology and facilitate hybrid and remedial learning, in case schools should ever close again. Families and members of the community will be invited to access the Computer Lab after school, on weekends and during school holidays. Wakadogo will create a course timetable for community members to sign up to.  The school will also invite neighbouring schools to use Wakadogo’s Computer Lab during school holidays and weekends.  A new ICT Teacher will be hired to provide training and support. Wakadogo expects to reach 3,000 students, teachers, parents and community members through this initiative.

Next steps:

The Top 3 finalists for each of the five World’s Best School Prizes will now be entered into a Public Advisory Vote. Members of the public have until October 2 to tell judges who they think should win each prize at worldsbestschool.org/.

The Judging Academy, comprising distinguished leaders all across the globe including academics, educators, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, government, civil society, and the private sector, will be presented with the results of the public advisory vote and will assess the finalists  based on rigorous criteria.

The winners will be announced on October 19 2022 at World Education Week. A prize of US$250,000 will be shared equally among the winners of the five Prizes, with each receiving an award of US$50,000.

All shortlisted schools across the five Prizes will share their best practices during events at World Education Week and through School Transformation Toolkits that showcase their “secret sauce” to innovative approaches and step-by-step instructions on how others can replicate their methods to help improve education everywhere.

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