President of the Association for Educational Assessment in Africa (AEAA), Dr. Utsabako Mamothae Ntoi, has tasked examiners to embrace the change that comes with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
He gave this task to participants at the opening ceremony of the 37th conference of the Association held at the Transcorp Hilton hotel, Abuja, with the theme “Innovation in Educational Assessment” which was hosted by the Nigerian chapter of the West African Examination Council (WAEC).
According to him, the sole purpose of AEAA meetings is to reflect on the progress made in members’ countries’ collective quest for improved education for an African child.
“We come together to share ideas on ways and means to improve our practices towards the attainment of the goal of continuous improvement of the education agenda.
“We clearly understand that there is strength in numbers hence to conquer the educational challenges we face as a continent, we need to continually learn from one another”, he said.
He described the theme as apt at a time when the world is talking the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) which is a new chapter in human development through extra ordinary technological advancements.
“4IR brings together the convergence between physical, digital and biological spheres, its breath, speed and depth are forcing us to rethink how countries develop and how organisations create value”, he said.
Dr. Ntoi admonished men and women in the assessment bodies that innovations in assessment cannot happen outside 4IR hence they cannot divorce themselves from issues of cyber security, Internet of Things, Big Data and Cloud Computing which are some of the characteristics of 4IR.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, described the theme of the conference as timely because the continent cannot afford to be left behind in the dynamic trends and developments in the education sector.
He said the world today is evolving into a knowledge based economy and the benefits accruing from the phenomenon can only be harnessed by countries with highly skilled and educational labour force.
“It is also universally accepted that there can be no meaningful economic growth without corresponding social development”, he said.
The Perm Sec stated further that with the observed increase in unemployment and poverty in African continent, it is imperative to reappraise and properly situate the relationship between education and development.
In his introductory remarks, WAEC Registrar, Dr. Iyi Uwadiae, said having renewed the agenda of reforming educational assessment at the 36th AEAA conference, keynote speakers would like to build on that theme by dwelling on Innovations in Educational Assessment particularly on assessment for and of teaching and learning Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and innovative assessment for quality education, prospects and challenges in computer based assessment.
Other sub-topics include the Role of ICT in Curbing Examination Malpractices, Assertive and Addictive Technologies and Educational Assessment for Learners with Special Needs.
“In order to help Africa achieve an overall development in education, it is imperative for examining bodies and all stakeholders to be innovative in educational assessment. It is my most sincere belief that this conference will help Africa take its pride of place in education “, he said.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, said the FCT is working assiduously to make the territory a hub for educational conferences, tourism and excellence.
He said education is no doubt the panacea for a myriad of challenges confronting African nation today.
“Examinations we all know are a pivotal part of formal education and the yardstick with which to measure the competence of students and guarantee advancement “, he said.
According to the FCTA Perm Sec, it is therefore imperative that examinations and examination bodies must at all times be at the highest international standards whose documents are respected and accepted globally as having met all tests of integrity.