November 21, 2021
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The West African Examinations Council (WAEC), a non-profit-making organization, with its headquarters in Accra, Ghana. It was established in 1952 after the Governments of Ghana (then Gold Coast), Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia enacted the West African Examinations Council Ordinances in 1951. The enactment of the Ordinances was based on the Jeffrey Report, which strongly supported the proposal for the setting up of a regional examining board to harmonize and standardize pre-university assessment procedures in the then British West Africa.
Since its inception, WAEC has been responsible for the conduct of most of the national and international examinations at the pre-tertiary levels in Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. In Ghana, the council is well noted for setting the WASSCE and BECE examinations.
The Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) is the main examination to qualify students for admission into secondary and vocational schools in Ghana, and Nigeria. It is written after three years of junior secondary education, and is administered by the Ghana Education Service under the Ministry of Education. In Nigeria, it is administered by the state ministry of education in each state under the supervision of the National Examinations Council (NECO). NECO directly organizes examinations for Unity Schools, Armed Forces Secondary Schools and other Federal Government schools. Candidates in the third year of junior high schools approved by the Ghana Education Service are eligible for the examination. It is conducted annually in June (Ghana), May/June (Nigeria). Subjects written be these eligible students include: English Language, Mathematics, Integrated Science, Social Studies, Religious and Moral Education, French (Optional), Ghanaian language (any Ghanaian language offered at candidate's school), Basic Design and Technology (Visual arts, Home Economics, Pre-Technical Skills), and Information, Communication and Technology (I.C.T).
The national examinations are restricted to candidates of the specific country for which they are developed and they reflect local policies, needs and aspirations. The international examinations, on the other hand, are meant for candidates in all the member countries in the context of regional co-operation.
The council; Conducts examinations in the public interest, and also award certificates. Certificates are awarded provided that they do not represent lower standards of attainment than equivalent certificates of examining authorities in the region. They aim to be a world class examining body, adding value to the educational goals of its stakeholders.
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