Bauchi State Commissioner for Education, Dr Aliyu Tilde, declared on Thursday that more than 200 students in public schools had their names expunged and substituted with disqualified candidates writing this year’s West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
The Commissioner made the disclosure available to journalists in Bauchi in a statement , adding that some of the victims had committed mistakes, ranging from biometrics to spelling, while registering for the examination organised by the West African Examination Council ( WAEC).
According to him, his ministry obtained the list from the colleges, adding that the students concerned are from 30 out of 170 centers across the state.
The commissioner stated that the state government is scrutinising the list with a view to getting the exact number of students affected.
He noted that the number of affected students may likely be more than the one submitted to the state government by schools.
“We have already confirmed the practice and the names of about 200 out of the total 13,000, candidates have been sent to the ministry by schools as the substituted ones in some 30 out of the 170 examination centres,” Dr Tilde stated.
“There are some 400 others who either did not turn up for the online registration or had technical issues which some few of the vendors who did the registration did not care to cross-check because they were heavily underpaid by a contractor,” he added.
The commissioner lamented that some unscrupulous individuals are fond of highjacking government subsidised programmes, noting that they achieve this by diversion and inflation.
He stated that the ministry at the beginning of the year contented with the issue of importation of names of external candidates into the list of government sponsored candidates.
According to him, the issue was resolved when the state government conducted an aptitude test for students found in schools, saying that these formed the list of 15,000 sponsored by the state government for the 2020 WASSCE.
“From 2016, the corruption associated with this subsidy has grown in my state.
“At the beginning of the year, my ministry fought the obvious disregard for merit and the importation of names of external candidates into the list of government sponsorship.
“We won by successfully blocking external candidates at that level. We conducted an aptitude test for pupils we could find at school and came up with a list of about 15,000 eligible beneficiaries, against the 34,000 in the previous year,” the commissioner stated.
Dr Tilde had on the eve of the WASSCE raised the alarm on the inclusion of ineligible candidates on the master list of candidates released by WAEC.
The commissioner had informed that a whistleblower drew the attention of the state government to the malpractice through which the names of some candidates who passed the aptitude test conducted by the government were substituted for those who were not eligible for government sponsorship.