Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE), has set the National Identification Number (NIN) as a prerequisite for Candidates of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

The decision, according to Minister Sengeh is part of measures to curb examination malpractices in the country.

Speaking to Politico, the Communications Officer at the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE), Augustine Sankoh linked the decision to forestalling the practice students in year 2 of senior secondary school taking WASSCE a year before.

He, therefore, said that, if a student has registered with the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) they will be easily spotted.

He further said that the NIN allocated to students will also curtail the habit of individuals taking the exams for other persons.

“So this will reduce the amount of money being paid by the government for students who may want to take the WASSCE multiple times,” he said.

Sankoh reiterated that the ministry will provide a special registration for those students wanting to take public exams so that they could secure a permanent NIN that will not be shared with anyone.

According to Ishmael L. Kamara, a Senior Secondary School three (SSS3) Science pupil of the Muslim Secondary School, the one-time sitting government wants to introduce will not be good for students like him whose parents cannot afford much. He said, if the system holds, it will open the door for so many school dropouts due to a lack of money to pay for the private WASSCE

He urged the government to not give barriers on how many times s student should take the public exams.

Aruna Sankoh, a parent of a student that is attending the Freetown Secondary School for Girls (FSSG), noted that the ministry should realize that the cost of living is hard in the country before implementing such protocols. He said the government should think of the a least student whose parents could not afford the high costs of private WASSCE.

“The motive of creating public schools in Africa is for parents who could not earn much to send their children to school. If you look at Sierra Leone as a case study, you hardly see top government officials sending their children to public schools because they can afford to pay for private school education,” he said.

He pleaded with the government to think twice before implementing such a law.

Director of Operations and e Services, NERA, Abubakarr Javombo at NCRA, also spoke about the issue of NIN, saying any student that wants to take the WASSCE should first of all visit any of their district office where a staff of NCRA will do an advance search for the student in the civil register to ascertain whether they have registered before.

“Since mass civil registration was done in 2017 and then followed by last year’s confirmation/registration exercise, most students might have gone through the process. Those that have registered will be given the Citizenship certificate which bears the NIN,” he said.

He pointed out that an advance search would be done for students using their registration slip that bears their name, mother’s name, father’s name, and date of birth. He added that those with ID cards should also present their phone numbers and ID number.

Javombo noted that those students that are yett register, will be duly registered upon presenting their Birth Certificates, Attestation forms, BECE admission notices, NPSE admission Notices, and School Results.