By NBF News

Although the result of the last May/June West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) recorded a marginal improvement in the performance of candidates, especially the number of those that got credit passes in five subjects, including Mathematics and English Language, there is not much to cheer about the entire result.

This year's result only showed a five percent increase in the pass rate when compared with 26 percent achieved in 2010 and 25 percent recorded in 2009. In all, the pass level has not reached 50 percent threshold in the last three years.

According to the Head of National Office (HNO) of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Dr. Iyi Uwadiae, a total of 472,906 candidates representing 31 percent of the 1,540,250 candidates, who sat for the examination obtained credit passes in five subjects, including English language and Mathematics.

It will be recalled that in 2010 May/June WASSCE, a total of 1,351,557 candidates wrote the examination and only 337,071 or approximately 25 percent had credit passes in five subjects including English Language and mathematics. Also, in the 2009 edition, a total of 1,373,009 candidates sat for the May/June WASSCE, and only 356,981 candidates or 26 percent got five credits.

A breakdown of this year's result showed that 80,247 candidates representing 5.21 percent still have a few subjects being processed, due to various errors and omissions committed by the candidates. The WAEC boss explained that some of these errors and omissions occurred during the online registration for the examination, while others were committed during the examination. However, the results of 81,573 candidates representing 5.29 percent of the total number of candidates were withheld over alleged examination malpractices.

All together, a total of 587,630 candidates representing 38.93 percent obtained credit and above in Mathematics, while 838,314 candidates representing 55.34 percent got credit and above in English Language. In spite of the slight improvement recorded in this year's examination, we still bemoan the consecutive poor outing in WASSCE in the past three years. The fact that the number of candidates that obtained five credits in five subjects, including English Language and Mathematics in the examination in the past three years is not up to 50 percent, underscores the consistent poor showing in the examination. The ugly development is, indeed, unacceptable.

The trend in performance is indicative of the decline in education standard occasioned by ill-equipped schools and poor teaching and supervision. It is lamentable that only 31 percent of the candidates could obtain the mandatory five credits that will qualify them for university matriculation examination. There is no doubt that the rot in the education system has gone a notch higher in the last couple of years due to erosion of values and weak foundation at the primary and secondary levels of the education pyramid.

The attitude of some parents in seeking easy way for their children to pass the examination does not help matters. Resorting to cheating instead of hard work has also compounded the problem. The way out is for the government to revamp the education system and improve the quality of teaching and learning at the primary and secondary school levels. In doing this, special attention should be paid to the teaching of English Language and Mathematics, in view of their pivotal importance to other fields of learning.