The National Examination Council (NECO) was created by the former military administrator Abdulsalami Abubakar military administration was the promulgation of a decree, in April 1999, that created the National Examinations Council (NECO). That act, however, was only the climax of a process whose beginning predated the administration. Although calls for the creation of a national examination outfit had been on for over two decades earlier, the birth of NECO was not spared controversy. While some Nigerians saw its arrival as opportunity for choice of examination body for candidates to patronize, others doubted its capacity to conduct reliable examinations that could command widespread national and international respect and acceptability. Some others welcomed it for its potential, as a Federal Government parastatal, to offer subsidized registration to candidates; yet others queried even its legal status.
By its mandate, National Examination Council (NECO) was to take over the responsibilities of the National Board for Educational Measurement (NBEM) which was created, in 1992, by the Ibrahim Babangida administration, although its enabling decree was promulgated in 1993. However, the conduct of the Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) which had, hitherto, been the exclusive preserve of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) was made an additional responsibility of the new examination outfit. NECO was to take exclusive charge of the conduct of the SSCE for school based candidates while WAEC was to take charge of the same examination for private candidates. NECO was to conduct its maiden SSCE in mid 2000.
Examinations under The National Examination Council (NECO)
To transit from one level of the educational system to the next, pupils have to undergo selection or achievement examinations to determine their suitability for the level they are transiting into. NECO plays a dominant role in conducting the various transiting examinations, which are as follows:
SENIOR SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION (SSCE)
This is the National Examination Council (NECO) conducted examination taken by candidates in their last stage of Secondary Education. The SSCE is in two categories. One is for candidates in the third and final year of their secondary education and it is called SSCE Internal. The Second is SSCE External and is for candidates not in the School system.
The SSCE internal has forty subjects. the minimum number of subjects a candidate can sit for is eight while the maximum is nine. all Senior Secondary schools in the Federation present Candidates for the SSCE because the results are used for
- A. Admissions into Tertiary Institutions
- B. Employment purposes
- C. Qualification to stand for elective offices EXTERNAL
Another core component of the mandate of the Council as espoused in the Enabling law is the conduct of the Senior School Certificate Examination for External Candidates.
JUNIOR SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION (JSCE)
To transit from the ninth year of the basic education class to the senior secondary, the JSCE is conducted for candidates in their third year of the Junior Secondary School. While each state of the federation and the FCT conducts the JSCE for its candidates, NECO conducts the JSCE for Federal Unity Colleges, Armed Forces Secondary Schools and other Federal establishments operating Secondary schools. Private Secondary schools also take part in the NECO JSCE provided they are permitted by their State Ministries of Education. Twenty two subjects are administered at the JSCE level. A candidate is expected to sit for a minimum of ten subjects and a maximum of thirteen. A candidate is deemed to have passed the JSCE if he/she has passes in six subjects including English and Mathematics.
NATIONAL COMMON ENTRANCE EXAMINATION (NCEE)
This National Examination Council (NECO) examination is administered to pupils in their 6th year of basic education. The purpose of this examination is to select the best candidates from every state of the federation and the federal Capital territory (FCT) for admission into federal Unity colleges. These Colleges are essentially, Secondary schools owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Their objective is to foster unity amongst the children of NIGERIA. Two are held annually. Result of the first examination determines candidates that qualify for a second examination based on cut-off marks for each state. The result of the second examination qualifies candidates for admission based on merit, equal state quota and environment considerations.