NECO 2020 SSCE External COVID-19 Protocol Manual

National Examination Council of Nigeria (NECO) Guidelines for Conduct of Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) External [COVID-19 Protocol Manual].

The National Examinations Council (NECO) has released a manual guidelines for preparation of centers for conduct of the 2020 SSCE External in view of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

NECO SSCE External will take place on Monday 1st February, 2021 to Wednesday 3rd March, 2021 .

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 SSCE External this year and will ensure that appropriate standards and excellence will be maintained before, during and after the examinations.

NECO 2020 SSCE External COVID-19 Protocol Manual.

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 Centre Coordinators.

1. There should be sensitization of invigilators involved in the conduct of the examination on safety and
hygiene measures— disinfecting and fumigating the entire school premises (especially the examination halls and class rooms), 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 running water, soap, sanitizers (hand and surface), and their use at the school entrance, examination halls and classroom entrance at all times.
3. Establishing centre COVID-19 Referral System including protocols and procedures to follow if candidates, Supervisors, invigilators or Monitors exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 at the centre.
4. Putting in place temporary isolation centre for any candidate, invigilator, Supervisor or Monitoring Officer who displays symptoms of any infectious disease ranging from cough, chicken-pox, measles diarrhea etc.
5. Providing well ventilated and adequately furnished examination halls and classrooms to ensure proper observance of social and physical distancing of at least Two (2)-metre apart sitting arrangement.
6. No handshaking or hugging and face touching between candidates, and examination officials including security officials.
7. Displaying sensitization posters and materials on Centre premises and in examination halls and classrooms to adequately inform and educate candidates and teachers on personal hygiene.
8. Regular cleaning of toilet and good personal hygiene practices for invigilators and candidates.
9. Keeping a record of all health-related cases observed or reported during the examination.
10. Informing the invigilators of their subject/papers in advance of the examination.Section

2: Roles and Responsibilities of Parents and Guardians

1. Sensitizing their candidates on the modes of contracting COVID-19, its symptoms, consequences and preventive guidelines which include: no hand shaking, hugging, avoid touching the face, maintaining social distancing, sneezing and coughing on flexed elbow (or on a tissue paper which should be properly disposed), avoiding indiscriminate touching of surfaces and other unnecessary materials etc. as outlined by the NCDC and PTF on COVID-19 protocols.
2. Ensuring provision of uncontaminated facemasks for their candidates.The disposable type should be got rid of properly after use while the washable ones be kept clean always.
3. Encouraging their candidates to imbibe the habit of regular hand washing or use of hand sanitizer.
4. Ensuring they provide their candidates with all necessary writing materials to avoid exchange with or borrowing from other candidates during the examination.
5. Constantly reminding their wards to always observe social and physical distancing in and outside the examination centre premises.
6. Closely monitoring their candidates' state of health for any presentation of early signs or symptoms of COVID-19 to avert infecting others and prompt treatment.
7. Keeping their candidates at home when sick and promptly attending to their health needs and challenges.

Section 3: 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/friends 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 candidate(s) or friend and alerting the supervisor or any close-by invigilator.
11. Obeying all rules and regulations on conduct of examination.

Section 4: 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 centre coordinator.
12. Making themselves available for temperature check using the infrared thermometer provided by the centre on daily basis.
13. Strictly limiting themselves to assigned/given hall and classrooms to generally restrict contact.14. Promptly admitting candidates into designated halls and 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.