Babatope M. Agbeyo – Botosoft Technologies Limited | Rob Haslam – HID Global

In recent years the card manufacturing industry has not only become increasingly innovative in solving complicated secure ID challenges but it has taken on a whole new position of cooperation between card manufacturing leaders at the local and global levels. As a result we are seeing a new category of secure ID solutions hit the market.

One such example is found in the West African Examination Council’s (WAEC) mobile student ID system CIVAMPEMS (Candidates Identity Verification, Attendance, Malpractice and Post-Examinations Management System).

At the SWD Event

WAEC: A Historical Perspective

To provide some background, 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 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 15,000 participating examination centers across Nigeria. With an admirable mission and high standards, WAEC soon realized maintaining the integrity of the organization 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.

The historical method for exam registration and authorizing was manual, time consuming, and susceptible to fraud. Students registered online and were provided a paper receipt that was later manually validated at the time of testing without a secure process to confirm the student was who he or she said. For this reason tracking and recording cases of identity fraud was difficult and suspect. While WAEC knew it needed to do something to remedy the situation, with so many exam centers spread throughout the country, WAEC also had to find a partner who could build a secure and reliable solution within strict budget parameters.

To facilitate improvements in the annual examinations process, WAEC commissioned a local technology leader who partnered with a global secure ID solutions provider to develop and deploy a secure card issuance and mobile ID system which allowed WAEC to not only meet but 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 Mr. Charles Eguridu, WAEC Head of National Office Lagos. “With our new electronic Student ID card program we are able to 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.”

WAEC’s New Mobile Student ID Card

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.

The partners worked together to deliver a customized solution to accept the raw data from WAEC’s online enrollment process; validate the information and prepare it for use in personalizing the cards in a local facility. Additionally, the team assisted with the design and development of the application software used in the mobile readers. Once issued, a specialized data management system ensures effective administration of the “Exam Day” process.

CIVAMPEMS as it is called, Candidates Identity Verification, Attendance, Malpractice and Post-Examinations Management System seeks to address and record in real time day-to-day examination processes, capturing and recording events as they happen, with the ability to report them in a timely manner. This will allow users of the system access reliable data and post examination reports.

Students on Exam Day

WAEC’s vision to be a world-class examinations body and gain international recognition now inspires and challenges more than 2.2 million Nigerian students every year.

Students now register online. The information is used to personalize and issue a machine-readable smart card to each student. This same information is stored in a central database that can be accessed in real-time by the new mobile readers at the time of the exam.

Today, more than 16,000 mobile readers have been distributed to over 15,000 exam centers throughout Nigeria allowing supervisors to identify and authenticate students at the time of the exam by accessing student information from the 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 center is added to the student’s online records.

Examination malpractices in its different forms has continued to be a major problem facing the Nigerian education system and Nigerian society at large. It totally neutralises the ability of examination bodies to be able to certify accurately quality and standard of students and their schools. While Malpractices have come in different forms from importation of foreign materials to impersonation, impersonation has continued to gain prominence among students who engage in the malpractices.

The WAEC student ID card incorporates multiple technologies to facilitate the greatest security and protection against ID fraud possible. Beyond visual identification – the candidate whose name and photograph appear on the card must take the card to the appropriate exam center and present it to the Examinations Official upon request – multiple embedded technologies not visible to the naked eye have been incorporated. Specific features unique to the WAEC student ID card include:

  • An integrated contactless chip
  • A UV blue WAEC logo
  • Guilloche graphics
  • Micro-text
  • Warped patterns with faded edges
  • Text relief, two-color over print
  • Faded photo box edges overlapping with personalized photos

To facilitate the rapid personalization and issuance of secure identification cards a turnkey software and hardware solution was deployed in under four months with a capacity of more than 90,000 cards per day. The global partner provides hands-on training and support to the local production team.

A custom data management system provided by the local partner is used to address and record exam day activities – capturing and recording events/occurrences as they happen, with the ability to report them in a timely manner. The system verifies the identity of students when cards are scanned with the mobile reader as well as recording attendance, and any related examinations malpractice by the student. As a result, WAEC receives access to very reliable data including post-examinations reports. Information is recorded and stored on the mobile readers and interminably sent to a secure database providing WAEC with secure, reliable access to examinations reports whenever needed.

Successful Partnerships Driving Innovation

Innovations in mobile ID technologies are beginning to emerge, allowing secure identification and authentication as well as instant access to critical information. Students are now issued a secure, RFID credential that is registered in a central WAEC database. Supervisors at the examinations sites can authenticate students in real-time via a handheld reader that can access the central database. The result:

Reduced exam fraud

Less paperwork

Increased value of the diploma

In addition, with the advancements made by the powerhouse team that developed and deployed WAEC’s new mobile student ID system - the next generation mobile reader could be a smart phone. Using smart phones as readers will significantly reduce infrastructure costs.

We envision more industry partnerships emerging over the next several years as countries such as Nigeria and organizations like WAEC strive to bring the highest levels of security and integrity to their citizens.

Executive Summary

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.

Tope M. Agbeyo Is a Master Degree Holder in Media and Communication from Birmingham City University, Birmingham, United Kingdom. A proven innovator with in-depth thinking capability for strategic performances, Tope has continually surpassed expectations with leadership, Vision, commitment, thoroughness, awareness and integrity.

A leader of Men, Tope has started many successful businesses that continually serves purpose as wholesome solutions to Government, Organisations and Cultural challenges in administering social and economic benefits. Tope formed Media Concept International Limited in 2005. Through his sole leadership and guidance, the company delivered tailored and strategic enterprise solutions to major examination bodies in the West African region serving a combined total of over 3.5 million service users every year. Tope formed Cornfield Transnational Limited in 2006 solely as a management company. Through Tope Agbeyo’s leadership, Cornfield Transnational Limited developed a complete enterprise solution for a National Police Force positioned to cater of over 150 million users. Tope’s apt and ingenuity has won him many awards and recognition locally and internationally in Nigeria, the United Kingdom and also USA. His network of partners and influence spans across many countries including the USA, UK, Germany, South Korea, China and many other African countries.

 

Rob Haslam is the vice president, Government ID Solutions with HID Global, where he is responsible for market penetration and strategic worldwide expansion of the company's government ID programs. Mr. Haslam has over 20 years of worldwide experience in the government identity field including, managing the international business development team at L-1 Identity Solutions (acquired by Safran/Morpho in 2011). Prior to L-1, Mr. Haslam held a variety of roles at British security printer and identity specialist De La Rue.