MASS FAILURE: EDUCATION MINISTER WARNS EXAMINATION BODIES

By NBF NEWS
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Following public outcry over the outcome of public examinations conducted recently in the country, the Minister of Education, Prof. Rukkaya Rufa'i, on Thursday gave heads of examination bodies four weeks within which to reposition their organisations.

Rufa'i also announced the establishment of a 'Release My Result Committee,' to address cases of non-release of examination results by various examination bodies since 2007. These were part of decisions reached after her meeting with heads of various examination bodies in Abuja.

The bodies include the West African Examinations Council, the National Examination Council, the National Board for Technical Education and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board.

She said that while the ministry would not compromise on standards, it could not ignore public outcry over allegations of 'mass failure,' which parents and candidates blamed on the examination bodies.

According to her, 'After a meeting with these examination bodies (WAEC, NECO, JAMB and NABTEB), we decided that we had to do something to reposition them; to restore public confidence in their activities. As a result, we are giving these examination bodies four weeks within which to reposition themselves.

'They are now directed to go back and meet with their board members, hold their council meetings and then look at the various issues that we have discussed; especially the complaints of the Nigerian public for them to come up with their own strategies.

'Secondly, because of our concern, even though based on our discussions with examination bodies you can say that they are doing their best, but we still have problems. We have a situation where our students write examinations and do not get any result. 'Release my results' is something that is very common on the pages of our newspapers.

'As a result of that, we are now forming 'A release my result committee.' Any person that has taken any of our public examinations from 2007 to date and has not yet received his result can approach the state ministry of education (nearest to them) with complaints. After two weeks, we will liaise with the relevant bodies to see what we can do.'

The minister also revealed plans by the ministry to hold an education summit to address some of the problems.

Earlier, the heads of the examination bodies aired their views on the issues raised. The head of WAEC, Mr. Iyi Uwaije, explained that contrary to public perception, the results released by the body did not reflect mass failure.

He said that all that WAEC did was to publish the various levels of passes obtained by candidates. He noted that over 80 per cent of candidates got more than two credits and above, while some others had five credits and above, including English and Mathematics.

His counterpart in NECO, Mr. Promise Okpala, expressed similar sentiments, blaming some candidates for ignoring instructions during examinations.

In his remarks, the Chief Executive of JAMB, Prof.' Dibu Ojerinde, noted that criticisms over the speed with which it released the recent result of its examination were misplaced. According to him, the Federal Government had spent huge resources acquiring machines which JAMB put to use for the quick release of results.

He also said that JAMB had after consulting with other stakeholders decided to wave the N10,000 penalty charged candidates to view their scripts.

He, however, said the viewing of scripts was restricted to those who had their results partially released.