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MASS FAILURE IN NOV/DEC WASSCE

By NBF News
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It is appalling that only 20.04 percent of 310,007 candidates that sat for the 2010 November/December West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) obtained five credits in English Language, Mathematics and three other subjects.

This year's results are in no way different from those of 2008 and 2009 respectively. In 2008, out of the 372,600 candidates that sat for the examination, only 23.54 percent got five credits in English Language, Mathematics and three other subjects.

Similarly, in 2009, only 31 percent out of 342,443 candidates that sat for the same examination made five credits in English Language, Mathematics and three other subjects. Details of this year's results indicate that 62,295 candidates got five credits in English, Mathematics and three other subjects. Also, the results revealed that 309,431 candidates representing 95.21 percent had their full results released while 15,567 others (4.79 percent) had few of their subjects still being processed due to candidates' errors.

A total of 141,167 candidates (45.52 percent) obtained five credits and above while 99,750 others (32.16 percent) got six credits and above. It is regrettable that for the past three consecutive years, Nigerian students have performed poorly in both May/June and November/December WASSCE. The development is not good for our educational development as well as the overall development of the country.

We condemn the mass failure recorded this year. The increasing failure rate in this examination is becoming embarrassing. The blame for the abysmal performance should go to the government, the students, their parents and the society at large. It is a pity that the core values that guide human existence are no longer appreciated. More importance is attached to material things. Matters of the intellect are relegated to the background.

Government neglect of the education sector does not help matters. Most primary and secondary schools in Nigeria lack well equipped libraries and functional laboratories. There is also shortage of qualified manpower in most of these schools. The teacher-student ratio makes it difficult for quality teaching and learning to take place in these dilapidated schools. Most of the pupils being pushed yearly into our secondary schools are products of ill-equipped primary schools. As long as this persists, we will continue to get poor results in WASSCE.

The decadence is gradually creeping into our tertiary institutions. That can explain why products of our universities lack the necessary skills required by employers of labour. Much emphasis is placed on paper qualification rather than obtaining knowledge and acquiring experience that would enable our graduates confront human problems and other challenges.

To avoid this recurring cycle of failure in WASSCE, government should invest heavily on education. All technologically advanced countries invested heavily in education before getting to their present heights. We cannot reach that height by mere wishful thinking. There is no way the country can make great leaps in human development with the current funding of the education sector. It is time government demonstrates more interest in issues that revolve around human capital development. If this problem is not frontally tackled now, it will lead to failure in other sectors.

All levels of our education system - primary, secondary and tertiary - should be well funded and well equipped. Let government ensure that the inherent lapses in the education sector are squarely addressed. Also, government must put a stop to the flip-flops in our education policies. Such frequent policy somersaults do not make for steady progress in the sector. Let parents show interest in their children's school work and monitor their after school activities. Access of children to electronic gadgets that take their minds off academic pursuits should be regulated.