Getting a friend or sibling to write an exam for you is not an unheard of practice in Nigeria, which is why secure identity solutions company HID Global has partnered with Botosoft to launch a biometric system to authentic millions of students in the North African country.

The system will allow the the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to get 2.2 million students in more than 13 000 participating exam centres in Nigeria registered online and get smart cards that can be validated via a handheld mobile card-reading machine.

According to the WAEC, the traditional registration method is time consuming and very susceptible to identity fraud. Students register online and get 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 they are.

This makes tracking and recording identity fraud even harder.

“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,” HID said.

With the new biometric system, HID Global will collect the raw data from the WAEC online enrollment process, validate the information and have the smartcards manufactured by Botosoft.

Each card is only valid per semester and expires immediately once a student writes their final paper. Specific features on the smartcards includeƒ an integrated contactless chip, a UV blue WAEC logo, micro-text ƒwarped patterns with faded edges, two-colour over print and a faded photo box edge overlapping with personalised photos.

More than 15 000 mobile readers have been distributed to over 3 500 exam centres throughout Nigeria.

“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 stringent requirements,” said Rob Haslam, vice president, Government ID Solutions at HID Global.

[Image – CC 2.0 Chad Miller]