Outrage trails students’ poor performance in 2014 WASSCE

No Comments » September 5th, 2014 posted by // Categories: Education for Nigerians (EFN)



THE SUN

 

Outrage trails students’ poor performance in 2014 WASSCE

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BY  ON  ·EDUCATION REVIEWSPECIALS

No fewer than one million Nigerian students failed the 2014 May/June West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), the poorest result recorded in the last three years.

Results released by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) left many students and their parents in tears, as 1,176,551 out of 1,705,976 candidates that sat for the exam fell below the minimum requirement for admission into the university.

Details of the result indicated that only 529, 425 candidates (31.28 per cent) out of the 1.7million candidates who wrote the exam obtained credits in five subjects and above, including English Language and Mathematics. These lucky ones are qualified to apply for admissions into tertiary institutions.

Even WAEC management admitted that the May/June 2014 WASSCE was the poorest result in the last three years. Ironically, within that period, Ghanaian candidates dominated the three positions at the international awards for best candidates in the five member countries of WAEC.

The breakdown of May/June results released by the exam body revealed that about 68.72 per cent of candidates failed the exam.  The Head of National Office (HNO), WAEC, Mr. Charles Eguridu said a total of 1,705,976 candidates registered for the exam, out of which 1,692,435, comprising 929,075 male and 763,360 female candidates sat for the school examination. Out of this number, 1,605,613 candidates, representing 94.87 per cent have their results fully released, while 86,822 candidates, representing 5.13 per cent have a few of their subjects still being processed due to some errors, mainly traceable to their candidates and the schools, in the course of registration or writing the exam.

“Of the total number of candidates that sat the examination, 791,227, representing 46.75 per cent, obtained six credits and above, while 982,472 candidates representing 58.05 per cent, obtained five credits and above.  In addition 1,148,262 candidates, representing 67.84 per cent, obtained credits and above in four subjects, while 1,293,389 candidates, representing 76.42 peer cent, obtained credits and above in three subjects.  A total of 1,426,926 candidates, representing 84.31 per cent, obtained credits and above in two subjects,” he said.

Eguridu confessed that there was a marginal decline in performance when compared with the results of 2012 and 2013. “In all, a total of 529,425 candidates, representing 31.28 per cent, obtained credits in five subjects and above, including English Language and Mathematics. When compared to the 2012 and 2013 May/June WASSCE diets, there is marginal decline in the performance of candidates,” he explained.

The HNO said the council, against all odds, which included security, logistics and financial challenges, examined candidates in the 39 new subjects, in addition to the existing 37 subjects, in line with the new secondary school curriculum earlier endorsed by the National Council on Education (NCE), the highest policy-making body on education in the country.

Aside the poor result recorded in this year’s WASSCE, previous performances of candidates have never been cheering. For instance, in the Nov/Dec 2012 WASSCE, 150,615 (37.97 per cent) out of 413,266 candidates obtained five credits, including English Language and Mathematics. In 2013 Nov/Dec WASSCE, only 86,612 candidates, representing 29.17 per cent out of 308,217 that wrote the exam passed the examination with five credits, including English Language and Mathematics. Also, in May/June 2010 WASSCE, only 337,071 candidates out of 1,351,843 candidates passed with five credits, including the two core subjects.

The release of the May/June 2014 WASSCE provoked more concern on the declining performances of Nigerian students over the years. Although WAEC management pointed accusing fingers at parents, other stakeholders thought otherwise, as they blamed the government, teachers and parents alike for the mass failure.

One of the parents told Education Review that “WAEC results every year reflect what we have sown. Why do some people blame the council for the poor performance in the May/June 2014 WASSCE? If we take a picture and something goes wrong with the photograph, we can’t blame the photographer. We are reaping what we sowed long ago in the education system’’.

Also, the Proprietor of Royal Academy, Ibadan, Chief Laide Oluwaseun, said he is yet to recovery from the shock of another dismal performance. He urged the government and stakeholders to take urgent action to address the ugly trend, which has become a recurring incident since 2009.

“It is a national shame and I wonder how Ghanaian candidates have been winning the WAEC international awards. Something must be done quickly to arrest the trend. We can’t continue like this, the trading of blames must stop’’, he said.

The proprietor, a retired teacher, called on government to pay attention to teachers’ welfare, provide grant for training, as well as ensure good motivation to make them put in their best. He also urged parents not to leave the education of their children to teachers alone.

In his reaction, the Provost, Michael Otedola College of Primary Education (MOCPED), Lagos State, Prof Olu Akeusola, identified possible factors responsible for the mass failure. The factors, he said, include change in curriculum (introduction of 39 new subjects), teachers, parents, government and students’ attitude to learning.

According to him, the new 39 subjects could be one of the reasons for the mass failure, as he wondered whether schools have trained teachers in these new subjects. He noted that majority of teachers are not serious with their job, which affect the classroom experience.

“Teachers don’t prepare lesson notes; they are busy doing other things and many of them are not qualified to teach the subjects assigned to them,” he said.

Prof Akeusola advised government at all levels to invest in training and retraining programmes, recruit qualified teachers, motivate and improve their welfare to get the best result.

Also speaking, Prof Ngozi Osarenren of the Department of Educational Foundations, University of Lagos, bemoaned the poor results saying, “I don’t know how to put it, the results are really bad for both students and schools. Even students that some teachers know that they were very good didn’t do well. I know a particular school where the class teacher was complaining bitterly. Some of them are worried that even their best students didn’t get the required results for admission into the university. I saw the result of a student with three A1s, three Bs, one C and two Ds. So a student that has seven good grades cannot get admission because one Ds is in Maths’’.

Osarenren, who was the former Edo State Education Commissioner, said many candidates were not prepared for the exam. “Most schools do not have qualified and competent teachers. Even when they have qualified teachers, the teachers avoid some topics that they don’t know, leaving their students at a great disadvantage’’.

She observed that many state governments are building the state-of-art schools but do not bother to find out what is going on inside the beautiful structures. “When did these teachers go for refresher course? We need to look at the curriculum, I am not advocating for a complete overhaul. Arts and humanity students seeking admission do not need core Maths for their courses. This is the first time candidates were examined in the 39 new subjects, there is need for re-assessment to know the trend of performance,” she advised.

A concerned parent, Mr. Victor Nnaji, told Education Review that the dismal performance of candidates in the exam makes it necessary for the government to overhaul the education system and engage qualified teachers.

Nnaji blamed teachers for the continued poor results in public examinations by students, stressing that many teachers do not have passion for the profession.  “Some of them see teaching as a stepping stone to a better job. Again, because of poor salary, some teachers combine teaching with other businesses during working hours,” he explained.

A teacher with a private school in Lagos, Mrs. Lola (surname withheld) defended her colleagues and rather blamed government and parents for the poor results recorded in the last four years.  “When was the last time government sent their teachers for training or refresher course? They have failed to improve the welfare of teachers and that is why many are involved in other businesses during school hours. How many parents provide the required textbooks for their wards? They want everything free from the government, which is not possible,’’ she said.

In her reaction, Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, said the task to revert the poor results remains a collective responsibility of all stakeholders. She faulted the insinuation that teachers are not doing their jobs well but stressed that if it does exist, it is not happening in Lagos because quality assurance officers do monitor the teachers.

“If anyone is caught not performing his/her duty, he/she will be out of the system,” she added.

The Commissioner explained that children spend little time in schools with their teachers and advised parents to monitor them at home to ensure they go to school regularly and on time, do their home work/assignment. She also pleaded with parents to provide the prescribed textbooks and ensure that their children read those books.

She warned parents not to abandon their wards to the government, noting that the state government cannot pay students’ school fees (including WAEC fees), provide conducive environment and monitor the children at the same time.

“We can’t do that for them. It is their job to ensure their wards do the right thing to pass the exams,’’ she maintained.

Nigerians are waiting anxiously to see the performance of students in the just concluded NECO SSCE exams, which also recorded poor results last year.

 

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