According to May/June 2012 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results last Friday, educationists have expressed mixed reactions on whether or not the results should be a source of celebration. Despite their diverse views, they have unanimously called on the government to invest more in the education sector,
Whether or not we should smile over the results of the 2012 May/June West African Senior School Certificate Examination results has become a nagging question. Nevertheless some educationists said that the improvement, despite minimal, had shown that the education sector was on the right path to revival.
In the last four years, WASSCE results have been nothing to write home about.
In the May/June 2009 WASSCE, the West African Education Commission said that only 25.99 per cent obtained credits and above in English Language, Mathematics and at least three other subjects. In 2010, 317,142 candidates representing 23.71 per cent of the candidates that sat for the examination obtained five credits including English and Mathematics. In 2011, 471,474 candidates representing 30.91 per cent had five credits and above in five subjects including English and Mathematics.
According to the Head of the National Office of the West African Examinations Council, Dr. lyi Uwadiae, the percentage represents 356,981 candidates out of the total of 1,373,009 of the candidates that sat for the examination. In this year’s 2012 WASSCE, there was an increase of about eight per cent from last year’s performance.
Uwadiae disclosed that out of the 1,672,224 candidates that sat for the examination this year, 649,156 candidates representing 38.81per cent obtained credits in five subjects and above including English Language and Mathematics. Despite the increase, some educationist said that until Nigeria crossed over some hurdles, it might remain below the border line of 50 per cent pass rate.
The President, Parents’ Teachers’ Association, Mr. Michael Nwachukwu, said 39 per cent is an ‘F’ mark. He said, “It is unfortunate. This increase is nothing to be happy about. I see the slight increase as a depiction of inadequate preparation for the examination. “Candidates of today appear to be focused on malpractice. All they want is to pass and get out of school.
They don’t spend enough time reading their books because they know they can take the easy way out. If a child studies hard, he must pass. This is an unbreakable law. Children have time to browse the internet and keep up with social networks, but they don’t want to spend time on their books. For one to achieve success, there must be hard work.
“I don’t expect parents to smile over the result. Parents are to blame for the failure rate. The life of a man is spent on a child. Why do we work as parents? It is to give our children a better life. The success of our children is also our success. Parents must begin to play their roles. The WASSCE could be better if we all perform our duties. There must be seriousness, hard work and preparation.”
The Dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Lagos, Prof. Omotayo Fakinlede said if there had been a 90 or 100 per cent increase, then we would have cause to smile, but a 39 per cent is still a fail mark. “We have not reached anywhere. After all, if a pupil gets 39 per cent in an exam, he has failed. Any factory with a waste product of 61 per cent will run bankrupt.
We are interested more in paying lip service than ensuring quality. At the Olympics, we failed to prepare, that’s why we lost. How can we prepare for three months and hope to outperform people who have been preparing for eight years. This attitude can be related to WASSCE. Pupils don’t prepare but hope to pass. It does not work.
“Even these pupils are not too bothered about their WASSCE because they know that their parents know this person that knows that person. We don’t encourage hard work. When there is no success in our schools, there is no success outside. Our nation lacks good mentorship of people who have done well for themselves. Instead, we celebrate people who dropped out of school and are now driving big cars. Our children imbibe this wrong notion and see no reason to work hard. The end product of hard work is reward. Now, our society gives reward to laziness,” he said.
But the Chairman, Nigerian Union of Teachers, Lagos State, Mr. Kayode Idowu, has a contrary view. In his opinion, even if 39 per cent was not high, it was fair. “This minimal increase was not our expectation, but we will do better. If more resources are made available, we would do better. If more funds had been spent on the education sector, there would have been a better improvement. When our government gets holistically committed to the educations sector, things would change.
“Thirty nine per cent to a teacher is failure but we should take into consideration the decadence in the sector. I believe there is a lot of room for improvement. It is time for all stakeholders to take education seriously. When our education gets better; the country will get better,” he said. Also, the Provost, Federal College of Education, Akoka, Lagos State, Prof. Sijibomi Olusanya, said the increase had shown that the country was moving forward.
“This increase deserves applause. It shows that the education sector is getting a revival. I hope we all continue doing what we have done to bring about this increase. I beg to be different but these children have tried their best and should be celebrated. If we have better facilities on ground and better teachers; I believe we can do better next year.”
Dr. Taiwo Rotimi of the Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, has the same view. “I think this increase is something to celebrate. If in the past years, candidates had been doing poorly and now they do better, we should be happy. It shows the education sector has improved. “However, teachers need to be more dedicated. This 39 per cent is a reflection of their dedication. Pupils on the other hand need to be more committed. Achieving a 50 per cent is not farfetched,” he said.
The Principal, Wellspring School, Lagos, Mrs. Olayemisi Oloriade, said attention should not be given to the increase because the education sector had not reached the point for celebration. “There is still a lot of work to be done. Thirty nine per cent is not good. There are some factors that need to be tackled in order to better our WASSCE result. Teachers are partly to blame for our poor results. Whenever I get the opportunity to speak to teachers, I enjoin them to either work or leave the system. The future of our children is too important to toil with. Also, school administrators need to be sure of their teachers,” she said.
Reacting to the notion that teachers were to blame for the failure rate in WASSCE, a teacher, Mr. Steven Okugbowa, said, “I disagree with that claim, because as teachers, we are doing our best. No teacher enjoys seeing his pupils fail. These children spend eight hours with us in school out of 24 hours. “When they get home, they spend the rest of their day browsing Facebook and other social networks. In my opinion, parents are to blame.
The Internet can be useful for other things. One can access past questions, find mathematical equations, and learn new vocabulary. Nevertheless, I will applaud pupils for doing better in the WASSCE. Things can only get better from here,” he said. A teacher, Miss Oghenerobo Edeha, who chose not to disclose her school, said that the increase was not something to be happy about. “There is no reason to celebrate when parents pay teachers to help their children pass. To stay in business, one would have to dance to the tune of parents. Teachers are not in any way to be blamed for the failure rate.”
Meanwhile, the former President, National Association of Proprietors, Dr. Saidu Minyinyawa, has said that this is not the time to pass blames. He said, “We should not start passing blames and jumping to conclusions. We don’t even know if the acclaimed 39 per cent is the truth. We live in a country where one thing is said today and tomorrow, it’s changed. We deceive ourselves a lot.’’ Minyinyawa said it was time for everyone to play their roles.
An author, Mr. Emmanuel Solarin, noted that it was time for Nigerians to change the ‘clock educational system’. ‘’This system is stressful. You have schools starting by 7am and closing by 6pm. The brains of our children are being loaded with too much information. It is work, work and work, he said. He added, “We wonder if the stress of parents hasn’t crept into our education system. The school closing time should be earlier.
Also, I see no reason why children should have extra lessons. After a long day’s work, I feel children should be left to rest, not bombarded with more information. By the time they get home, they are so tired. “The bottom line is that if teachers are well-paid, there would be no need for them to hold extra lessons. Most of them organise these extra lessons to augment their pay. Let us give credit to those who play a significant role in our economy and these people are teachers,” he said.
Mixed reactions trail 2012 WASSCE results