To combat the high instance of identity fraud and improve the overall student validation process at the time of the exam, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) in Nigeria has adopted a mobile ID system. Now more than 2.2 million students register online and receive machine-readable HID Global smart cards every year.
The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) is West Africa’s foremost examining body. It was established by law in 1952, and today is comprised of five member countries – Nigeria, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Liberia. Services provided by the WAEC include:
• Conducting public examinations for primary and junior/senior secondary school levels
• Conducting aptitude tests for institutions and corporate bodies
• Issuing results and certificates of completion/passing on the examinations administered
Every year WAEC registers more than 2.2 million students for annual exams conducted in more than 13 000 participating exam centres across Nigeria. With an admirable mission and high standards, WAEC soon realised maintaining the integrity of the organisation was going to require more than basic security procedures to identify, authenticate and monitor students during the examinations process while at the same time, providing a professional and comfortable testing environment.
Susceptible to fraud
The historical method for exam registration and authorising is manual, time consuming, and susceptible to fraud. Students register online and are provided a paper receipt that is later manually validated at the time of testing without a secure process to confirm the student is who he or she says. For this reason, tracking and recording cases of identity fraud is difficult and suspect. While WAEC knew it needed to do something to remedy the situation, with so many exam centres spread throughout the country, building a more secure infrastructure from the ground up was not economically feasible.
To facilitate improvements in the annual examinations, WAEC turned to Botosoft, based in Lagos, Nigeria who commissioned HID Global to assist with the development and deployment of a secure card issuance and mobile ID system which allowed WAEC to meet and exceed its security needs within budget.
“The implementation of this real-time identification and monitoring system helps bring to life our vision of being a world-class examinations body,” said Charles Eguridu, WAEC Head of National Office Lagos. “We turned to Botosoft and HID Global to develop an electronic Student ID card programme that could address the high volume issuance requirements of WAEC in a very aggressive timeframe as well as our overall need to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the annual exams.”
On-line registration for an identity card, read using a mobile device at each examination site, was decided to be the most practical solution. These cards would be valid only for the examinations being held in a particular semester and expire immediately on completion of the final paper. Without a valid card, students would not be allowed to take their exams.
With security, flexibility and quality at the forefront, WAEC required a secure issuance system that could print upwards of 1.8 million cards in the spring term and another 400 000 cards in the autumn term. Further, the cards needed to be checked and authenticated at the examinations sites by local officials.
HID Global leveraged Government ID expertise and offerings to deliver a customised solution to accept the raw data from WAEC’s online enrolment process; validate the information and prepare it for use in personalising the cards in the Botosoft facility.
Additionally, HID Global assisted with the design and development of the mobile reader application software used in the mobile readers. Once issued, Botosoft’s Candidates Identity Verification, Attendance, Malpractice and Post-Examinations Management System (CIVAMPEMS) ensures effective administration of the ‘Exam Day’ process.
15 000 mobile readers
Students now register online. The information is used to personalise and issue a machine-readable smartcard to each student. This same information is stored in a central biometric database that can be accessed in real time by the new mobile readers at the time of the exam.
Today, more than 15 000 mobile readers have been distributed to over 3500 exam centres throughout Nigeria allowing supervisors to identify and authenticate students at the time of the exam by accessing student information from the HID smart card and validating it against the central database in real time. Similarly, information about the testing process including, date, time and the name of the testing centre is added to the student’s online records.
Specific features unique to the WAEC student ID card include:
• An integrated contactless chip
• A UV blue WAEC logo
• Guilloche graphics
• Warped patterns with faded edges
• Text relief, two-colour over print
• Faded photo box edges overlapping with personalised photos
To facilitate the rapid personalisation and issuance of secure identification cards, HID Global provided a turnkey software and hardware solution including FARGO DTC4500 and 4500 ID card printers / encoders deployed in under four months with a capacity of more than 65 000 cards per day. HID Global provided hands-on training and support to the Botosoft production team.
“Education in emerging countries is key to the development of human capital and therefore key to Nigeria’s future. We are excited to be at the forefront of the mobile ID market, and to be instrumental in bolstering faith in the qualifications that legitimate candidates work so hard to achieve,” said Rob Haslam, vice president, Government ID Solutions with HID Global. “Innovations in mobile ID technologies are allowing us to meet the unique ID needs of our customers, especially those in developing countries where mobile technologies have leapfrogged more traditional technology infrastructures. Working together with Botosoft we were able to build and deliver a secure and affordable solution to meet WAEC’s specific needs.”
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