The West African Examinations Council is a non-profit-making organization, with its head-quarters in Accra, Ghana. It was established in 1952 after the Governments of Ghana (then Gold Coast), Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia enacted the West African Examinations Council Ordinances in 1951. Liberia became the fifth member of the Council in 1974.
The enactment of the Ordinances was based on the Jeffrey Report. The Jeffrey report strongly supported the proposal for the setting up of a regional examining board to harmonize and standardize pre-university assessment procedures in the then British West Africa.

The main objectives of the West African Examinations Council are

  • To conduct examinations in the public interest
  • To award certificates, provided that the certificates did not represent lower standards of attainment than equivalent certificates of examining authorities in the United Kingdom.

Convention Establishing the West African Examinations Council
The Council celebrated its 30th anniversary in March 1982 in Monrovia, Liberia during which the Convention establishing the WAEC was signed. The Convention was subsequently ratified by member Governments and came into force in August 1984.
The Council under the Convention was inaugurated in March 1985. The Convention now gives uniform legal backing to the operations of Council in all the member countries. It also makes provision for significant changes in the structure of the Council and gives it legal personality as an international body. A Headquarters Agreement signed with the Government of Ghana in 1987 confers certain privileges and immunities on Council’s Headquarters in Ghana. To take care of recent developments in the member countries. A process to revise the Convention was initiated at the turn of the century. The Revised Convention was signed in June 2003.

Structure of the West African Examinations Council

Part of the Council’s strength is its well-developed committee structure. WAEC’s committees and Council itself are made up of some of the best men and women in the various fields of human endeavour in the sub-region, particularly in education. There are about seventy committees working on various aspects of the Council’s activities at the local and international levels. These are in addition to the over 100 subject panels that operate from time to time to review developments in the different subject examinations. All these ensure that the operations of the Council are meticulously performed and they make the Council an authority on educational issues.
Vision of the West African Examinations Council is to be a world class examining body adding value to the educational goals of its numerous stakeholders.
Mission of the West African Examinations Council is to remain Africa’s foremost examining body providing qualitative and reliable educational assessment, encouraging academic and moral excellence and promoting sustainable human resource development and international co-operation.

Core Values of West African Examinations Council

  • Integrity
  • Professionalism
  • Accountability
  • Transparency
  • Team work
  • Innovativeness

The council is having branches all member countries with the head office in Accra Ghana. There are also sub regional branches throughout the member country.

Functions & Services to the Public

In Ghana, the West African Examination Council conducts the terminal examinations for all pupils and students at the pre-tertiary levels of education. The examinations of the Council also serve as selection tests for progression from one level to the other in the country’s educational structure up to the tertiary level where the results of the Council’s examinations are used for direct entry into all tertiary Institutions in Ghana.
The WAEC was an agent for the conduct of the Ordinary Level and Advanced Level examinations of the General Certificate of Education of the University of London and the School Certificate and Higher School Certificate examinations of the Cambridge Examinations Syndicate in addition to the examinations of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).
Over the years the West African Examination Council has developed syllabuses that address the manpower requirements of its member countries and has completely taken over the conduct of examinations in collaboration with these external examining bodies.


The Ghana National Office of the Council conducts the following examinations

  • The West African Senior School Certificate Examinations for both school and private Candidates.
  • The Basic Education Certificate Examination.
  • The Business Certificate Examinations made up of the General and Advanced Business Certificate Examinations for both school and private candidates.

(2) Aptitude Tests
The Council administers customized aptitude tests upon request for the selection of applicants for

  • admission to training institutions
  • the award of scholarships
  • employment purposes

(3) Miscellaneous Examinations The Council conducts various examinations on behalf of foreign professional examining bodies.
VERIFICATION AND CONFIRMATION OF RESULTS Another function performed by the West African Examination Council is the verification and confirmation of results, which is handled by the Records and Aptitude Tests Department (RATD). Various organizations, Embassies and educational institutions both local and international write to the Council for the verification and confirmation of results submitted by candidates.


The core business of the Council may be broadly classified as follows:

  1. Pre Examination activities
  2. Conduct of Examination
  3. Post Examination activities


These include:

  1. Syllabus Development and Review;
  2. Test Development;
  3. Floating of Examinations;
  4. Receipt of Entries;
  5. Allocation of Index Numbers;
  6. Designation of Centres;
  7. Printing and Packaging of Examination Materials;
  8. Briefing of Examination Personnel;
  9. Distribution of Examination Materials.

CONDUCT OF EXAMINATION Administration of the Tests


These include:

  1. Collection of Scripts from Examination Centres;
  2. Co-ordination and marking of scripts;
  3. Script Checking;
  4. Processing of Marks;
  5. Standard Fixing and Award procedures;
  6. Release of results;
  7. Issue of Certificates;
  8. Investigations into irregularities and malpractices.