COVID-19: NECO Guidelines for Conduct of SSCE, BECE & NCEE 2020

National Examination Council of Nigeria (NECO) Examination Dates and Manual On Guidelines for Preparation Of Schools for Conduct Of Public Examinations tn the Context Of COVID-19.

The National Examinations Council (NECO) has announced the dates for the conduct of the vairous council's public examinations and also released a manual guidelines for preparation of schools for conduct of all the examination scheduled to hold this year.

NECO Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) will now end on the 4th of September and no longer 7th September as earlier announced.

The NECO BECE timetable was compressed to terminate on the 4th of September in order to reduce cost.

NECO SSCE will take place on Monday 5th October 2020 to Wednesday 18th November 2020 while NECO NCEE for admission of JSS1 students into Federal Unity Colleges will hold on Saturday 17th October 2020.

NECO has also scheduled the BECE (re-sit) to take place on Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th November 2020 for the prescribed relevant subjects.

NECO has prepared a manual on guidelines for the preparation of school for the conduct of public examinations in the context of COVID-19 which covers five areas.

The Board has put in place special measures for its BECE, SSCE and NCEE this year and will ensure that appropriate standards and excellence will be maintained before, during and after the examinations.

Read NECO Manual On Guidelines for Preparation Of Schools for Conduct Of Public Examinations tn the Context Of COVID-19.

INTRODUCTION
It will be recalled that the first index case of Covid-19 in Nigeria was reported sometime in February, 3120 in Lagos. Since then, that incidence has turned into a pandemic in our dear country with its attendant consequencis on our socio-economic life as well as on education across states and communities.

In order to save lives of the citizenry, the Government introduced various degrees of lock down resulting in closure of schools nation-wide since March, 2020. The closure of schools has affected the schedule normally set for the conduct of public examinations for 2020.

However, it is gratifying to note that with the gradual and systematic easing off of the lock down, and with due consultation with the education stakeholders, Government announced that schools re-open for exit classes in Junior and Senior Secondary Schools from August 4, 2020. 

This is to enable these candidates prepare and sit for various public examinations as relevant to the candidates. Government also directed all the Public examination bodies, including NECO, to harmonize their examination time tables and make them available to the public.

This Manual which specifies Guidelines for various stakeholders has been prepared by the Council to ensure that NECO Public Examinations are conducted in environments compliant with the COVID-I9 Protocols.

In order for greater clarity, the Guidelines are stakeholder specific as outlined in various sections.

Stakeholders are strongly advised to adhere to the specifications applicable to them.

Section 1: Roles and Responsibilities of Public and Private School Proprietors

1. Special orientation to school teachers, and other relevant officials involved in school administration on safety and hygiene measures— disinfection, social and physical distancing, hand washing/sanitizing, surface cleaning, use of nose/face masks, respiratory gadgets, waste management and other relevant COVID-19 protocols.

2. Ensuring adequate provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), infrared thermometers, running water, soap, sanitizers (hand and surface), at the school, class entrance and examination halls at all times.

3. Establishing School COVID-19 Referral System including protocols and procedures to follow if candidates, teachers, administrators, and other education personnel that may present show symptoms of COVID-19 while in school.

4. Putting in place temporary isolation centre for any candidate or teacher who displays symptoms of any infectious disease ranging from cough, chicken-pox, measles diarrhea etc.

5. Providing examination halls and furniture to ensure proper observance of social and physical distancing.

6. Regularly contacting and collaborating with health authorities on school safety, health, and hygiene.

Section 2: Roles and Responsibilities of School Principals and Managers

1. Disinfecting and fumigating of the entire school premises (especially the examination halls, class rooms, laboratories and libraries). This should be done aweek before commencement of public examination and over the examination free weekends.

2. No handshaking or hugging and face touching between candidates, teachers and examination officials including security officials.

3. Ensuring regular sanitization of hands by candidates and teachers especially at the school gates and entrances to examination Halls.

4. Mobilizing and deploying new and existing resources to provide orientation to teachers and education personnel to cater for the need created by observance of prescribed social and physical distancing of candidates and teachers.

5. Maintaining additional classrooms and learning spaces in compliance with safe distancing in schools prescribed for the COVID-19 protocols.

6. Ensuring that the examination halls and classrooms used for examinations are well ventilated.

7. Displaying sensitization posters and materials on school premises and in classrooms to adequately inform and educate candidates and teachers on personal hygiene.

8. Providing water points, soaps at the school gate and entrance to the examination hall including classrooms, following prescribed protocols of COVID-19.

9. Regular cleaning of toilet and good personal hygiene practices for teachers and candidates.

10. Providing infrared thermometers and trained staff to check body temperature of anyone entering the school premises.11. Establishing and supervising activities of committees to monitor and promote compliance with NCDC and PTF on COVI-19 protocols and advisories in the classes, laboratories and other facilities.

12. Keeping a record of all health-related cases observed or reported during the examination.

13. Collecting and documenting contact of the nearest NCDC office to facilitate communication in case of any emergency.

14. Ensuring that examination halls and classrooms used for examinations are properly prepared to ensure at least 2-meter apart sitting arrangement of candidates before the arrival of supervisors and invigilators.

15. Preparing and displaying the invigilation rosters in appropriate places in the school.

16. Informing the invigilators of their subject/papers in advance of the examination.

Section 3: Roles and Responsibilities of Parents and Guardians

1. Sensitizing their children/wards on the modes of contracting COVID-19 and its symptoms and consequences as outlined by the NCDC and PTF on COVID-19.

2. Generally educating their children /wards (raise more awareness) on the importance of observing the COVID-19 protocols and preventive guidelines which include: no hand shaking, hugging, avoid touching the face, maintain social distancing, sneeze, and cough on flexed elbow (or on a tissue paper which should be properly disposed), avoid indiscriminate touching of surfaces and other unnecessary materials etc.

3. Ensuring provision of uncontaminated facemasks for their children/wards and educate them on the dangers associated with sharing/exchange of facemask with friends. The disposable type should be got rid of properly after use while the washable ones be kept clean always.

4. Encouraging their wards to imbibe the habit of regular hand washing or use of hand sanitizer.

5. Ensuring they provide their wards with all necessary writing materials to avoid exchange with or borrowing from other candidates during the examination.

6. Constantly reminding their wards to always observe social and physical distancing in and outside the school premises.

7. Ensuring their wards stay at home when they are not writing the day’s examination.

8. Closely monitoring children’s state of health for any presentation early signs or symptoms of COVID-19 to avert infecting others and prompt treatment.

9. Encouraging their wards to ask questions about COVID-19 for clarity.

10. Enquiring from their wards about any relevant happenings in the school on a daily basis for feedback purposes.

11. Keeping their wards at home when sick and promptly attending to their health needs and challenges.

12. Teaching their children/wards good hygienic practices.

13. Synergizing with schools to know what measures are in place and areas where support can be provided.

14. Making adequate arrangements for their children’s/wards movement/transport to and from school where it is required or necessary.

15. Ensuring that infrared thermometer is used to check their children’s/wards’ body temperature when entering or leaving school in the event they accompany their wards to the schools.

Section 4: Expectations from Examination Candidates

1. Arriving punctually at examination centres, latest one hour before commencement of examinations to enable supervisor/invigilator check them for proper compliant with COVID-19 protocols.

2. Washing their hands with soap and running water and using hand sanitizer.

3. Avoid removing and or shifting of chairs and desks from their positions as arranged by invigilators (strict adherence to laid down hall /classroom arrangements and instructions given by supervisors /invigilators).

4. Using facemasks throughout the examination period.

5. Avoid hand shaking, hugging and indiscriminate face or surface touching.

6. Avoid sharing/exchanging of writing materials among friends or fellow candidates.

7. Maintaining social distancing and physical contact as part of the NCDC protocols.

8. Informing appropriate authorities/parents promptly when they fall sick.

9. Sharing relevant information about COVID-19 prevention with other candidates outside the examination halls to promote awareness.

10. Avoiding physical contact with a sick classmate or friend and alerting the supervisor or any close-by invigilator.

11. Obeying all rules and regulations on conduct of examination.

Section 5: Code of Conduct for Examination Supervisors and Invigilators

1. Supervisors are expected to report at the custodian point at least one (1) hour to the examination to enable the custodian officer admit them in batches to collect their centre materials.

2. Except while collecting or distributing examination materials, Supervisors should maintain social distancing of at least 2 meters apart from candidates, invigilators or other authorized officials.

3. Avoiding physical contact while collecting and submitting sensitive and non-sensitive materials at the custodian points.

4. Ensuring that desks/seats are properly numbered to facilitate easy recognition of allocated seats by candidates.

5. Ensuring candidates wash their hands or use sanitizers before commencement of and after the first paper and at the end of the last paper for the day. This should also be done by any candidate who leaves examination hall or classroom before re-admittance.

6. Reporting immediately any health challenges to the custodian officer for further necessary action.

7. Washing or sanitizing their hands whenever they give to or receive materials from candidates or other officials.

8. Avoiding rowdiness in halls /classrooms as much as possible.

9. Keeping a clean record of all health-related cases observed or reported at their centres during the examination.

10. Ensuring that examination halls/classrooms are well arranged using recommended social and physical distancing of 2 meters vertical and 2 meters horizontal between candidates.

11. Being vigilant to spot any sick candidate especially one showing signs of COVID-19 i.e. sneezing/coughing repeatedly, high temperature etc. and reporting suspected cases promptly to the supervisor who should immediately inform the principal.

12. Making themselves available for temperature check using the infrared thermometer provided by the school on daily basis.

13. Strictly limiting themselves to assigned/given classrooms to generally restrict contact.

14. Promptly admitting candidates into designated halls/classrooms one by one to avoid unnecessary crowding.

15. Wearing facemasks throughout the examination period.

16. Collecting worked scripts while candidates are still seated at the end of the examination and ensuring that candidates exit the halls/classrooms one by one.

Section 6: Code of Conduct for Examination Monitors

 1. Wearing Face Mask.

2. Washing hands with soap and running water (if available) at the entrance Gate to the School.

3. Keeping required social and physical distance protocols from other examination officials and candidates.

4. Using hand sanitizer in and around the school on entering and after each interaction with any Examination Official or Candidate.

5. Where Examination Hall is used with many candidates involved in the examination, viewing the hall/candidates from the raised platform in the front or at the back of the hall. The spacing will enable them see clearly the activities in the hall.

6. Where arrest for examination malpractice is needed, demanding candidate’s photocards and relevant information copied from the card and close interaction with the candidate avoided.

7. Avoiding touching any writing materials used by candidates while the examination is in progress. But where and when this becomes inevitable, hand sanitizers should be used.

8. Concentrating on examination centres (Hall or Classrooms) only. They should avoid any unnecessary visit to the principal’s office or any office at all in the school, unless for the purpose of ascertaining suspicious moves by the school authorities.

9. In the event any candidate presenting symptoms of COVID-19 in the presence of the monitor, calling the attention of the school authority for immediate action.

10. On completion of monitoring at a centre, sanitizing and leaving the environment for the next centre, where applicable. Otherwise, he should return to his lodge or residence as the case may be to minimize unnecessary contacts.

Section 7: Code of Conduct for Security Agents

1. Wearing Face Mask to be provided by self.

2. Washing hands with soap at the entrance Gate to the School

3. Keeping required social and physical distance from other examination officials and candidates, except when they are needed to assist in arresting uncooperative candidate(s) suspected to be committing examination malpractice. If and when touching a candidate becomes unavoidable, they should sanitize immediately after.

4. Using hand sanitizer in and around the school after each interaction with any Examination Official or Candidate.

5. Reporting punctually for duty and submitting self for body temperature check as arranged by the school/centre.

6. Keeping away from the examination hall or classrooms unless invited by the Supervisor or NECO Official for assistance.

7. Avoiding aiding and abetting malpractice at the centre.

8. Avoiding interacting with School officials and candidates either before or after the examination.

9. Displaying true ethics of their profession in the course of the assignment by disclosing any suspicious moves that may hinder smooth conduct of the examination at the centre.

10. Reporting only verifiable incidents and avoiding cooked-up reports against the school/centre/candidates.

11. Performing the assignment with due diligence and repeat the protocols when leaving the environment at the end of the day’s work.

12. Keeping personal record of health-related issues witnessed during the examination.