By Kayode Ketefe
On December 19, 2013, the West African Examination Council, (WAEC), released the results of the 2013 Council’s examination. The result shows continuous rate of steady decline in the performance of the candidates in comparison with results from 2011 onwards. What makes this more noteworthy is the fact that the 2011 results itself showed poor performance, meaning that the matter has been growing from bad to worse.
While announcing the result, the Head of the WAEC’s Nigerian National Office, Mr. Charles Eguridu, stated that out 299,784candidates that sat for the examination, only 86,612 candidates, representing, 29.17 per cent, obtained credits in 5 subjects and above including English Language and Mathematics.
In 2011, the statistics of the candidates that had five credits and above including English and Mathematics was 31 per cent. It was even worse in 2012 when 20. 04% of the candidates obtained credits in five subjects including English and Mathematics.
But a more worrisome dimension was added to the issue when Eguridu stated that the results of the 38,260 candidates, representing 12.88 per cent, are being withheld in connection with diverse cases of examination malpractices. The WAEC boss even lamented that the Council’s investigation showed some candidates were using cell phones in the examination halls in abject defiance of all examination conventions.
This mass failure is a succinct metaphor of the rot bedeviling our educational system; it mirrors the dreadful reality of a sector whose stakeholders carried a varying degree of culpability and guilt.
A lot of factors are responsible for this embarrassing state of affairs. The first is the government’s neglect of education sector both in terms of inadequate funding and the dearth of strategic policies to keep the system afloat and thriving in consonance with the international and modern standards. A number of social factors have also contributed. How many of the said unsuccessful WAEC candidates have the habit of surfing the internet to download usable materials on their basic, core subjects?
Many would rather download the latest songs, videos, computer games and pornographic materials while the “boring” academic websites are shunned indifferently. If the thousands of hours being spent on facebook, twitter, yahoo messengers, and YouTube by these students had been poured in self-drilling on mathematical exercises and engaging assignments on basic grammar, the result, obviously, would not have been so dismal.
In addition to the lures of modern times, the peculiarities of our society which keeps producing battalions upon battalions of unemployed youths has also contributed to morbid apathy for education among the youths.
The attitude of some parents/guardians of encouraging the children/wards to cheat in public examinations instead of seeking success through legitimate route of hard work is also contributory. Our educational system has never been in want of novel idea on how to refurbish it, the 6-3-3-4 scheme which was replaced with Universal Basic Education initiative is one example.
The projection that students who do not have aptitude for further educational pursuits would, after the first three years of secondary education, be redirected into some vocational training programmes of their choices and capability ought not to fail, but it did, having crumbled under the sledgehammer of bad implementation. All the machines for vocational training then imported with the hard-earned foreign exchanges were left to rot in many schools in the face of morbid cluelessness of the policy makers on how to carry on with the implementation of the project.
After the fiasco called 6-3-3-4, its replacement with the 9-3-4 system of education under the UBE, which was designed in conformity with the Millennium Development Goals, so far has shown no sign of improving the standards of our education.
There are other problems, in many of our tertiary institutions, for instance, scholastic integrity has been so compromised that academic awards are freely bargained for monetary motivation, cultic camaraderie or other mundane consideration like sexual gratifications.
Secret cultism has replaced the rigorous discipline of academic tradition. One of the reasons why cultism persists in our schools is the despair of joblessness which haunts undergraduates as graduation year approaches.
Sadism is, strangely, also thriving even among those who are supposed to be above frivolities and pettiness. Established powerful dons do deny the upcoming scholars their rightful academic entitlements, for example, by deliberately refusing to approve their doctoral theses.
We need to re-evaluate our education system with a view to removing all the identified loopholes and defects; we need to effect a paradigm shift from placing undue emphasis on theoretical education and empty paper certification to the one that pragmatically equips a child with a brand of training best suited and tailored- made for him.
All the stakeholders, including the governments, private school owners, the parents, the teachers and students themselves must not only desist from all misdeeds that had up till now collectively combine to endanger our educational system, they must also collaborate to evolve a working paradigm for the ailing sector.
Get more stuff like this
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.