By Emmanuel Edukugho
The nation was shocked and devastated when the National Examination Council (NECO) released its November/December 2009 Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE) result showing that only 1.8% passed with five credits and above including English and Mathematics, required for admission into university.
This is one of the most dismal performance in the history of public examination at secondary level in Nigeria.
Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Education, Hon. Farouk Lawan has summoned NECO Registrar, Professor Promise Okpala and other key stakeholders in the education sector to examine reasons and causes for the mass failure.
He described the result as â€œvery disappointingâ€ and the need to look at the circumstances and reasons for this type of result.
Lawan recalled that this happened last year and also the previous years, as it is now becoming the trend. Stakeholders across the clime are saying the obvious that the result is not worth celebrating and should, instead, be seen as a â€œwake up call.â€
Dr. Sam Amadi, a development expert, reacting to the NECO result, said it is a challenge to the education system of the country which calls for a research to find out why this is happening.Â He suggested that the nation should clearly rethink the education system, teacher training, moral of teachers as many of them have become traders and whether students are properly focused.
â€œWe need to rethink about our human capital and scholarship.â€ A principal in one of the public secondary schools in Lagos told Vanguard Education Weekly that the result is not worth celebrating.
â€œI see the NECO result as a wake-up call to re-order our priorities and pay more serious attention to education by providing proper conducive environment for teaching and learning.â€â€œ
An Engineer, Stephen Temisan described the NECO Result as horrible. â€œThis is the most horrible result Iâ€™ve ever seen in my life â€“ where over 90 per cent of the candidates failed. Does it mean that no teaching and learning are taking place in our schools? I canâ€™t believe it.â€â€œ
He wondered why NECO and WAEC results are getting bad every year even with the establishment of more and more private secondary schools.
â€œWhat are they teaching in these private schools? Is it only to charge exorbitant fees? Something should be done to restore the relevance of our education system for good results,â€ Temisan said.
Jamiu Idris, of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Lagos State branch blamed the neglect of education by government for the mass failure
â€œI felt very bad about the NECO result. All of us should be blamed.â€ He also attributed the poor result to the incessant strikes by teachers. For most of the last session, teachers across the country went on nationwide strike to demand for implementation of the new Teachers Salary Scale (TSS).
Most of the schools were shut and students sent home as many of them ended up roaming about, engaged in street hawking, child labour and other anti-social acts to the detriment of their education.
Kogi has highest malpractice cases
NECO says 4,223 candidates passed the 2009 Nov/Dec SSSCE with five credits and above including English and Maths which is the requirement for entry into university out of a total of 234,682 that wrote the exam held in 1,708 centres across the country.
NECO Registrar, Prof. Promise Okpala, said in Minna that the candidates who passed represented 1.8% of the total number of those who sat for the examination.
About 12,197 candidates representing 5.2% passed with five credits and above irrespective of subjects. While 245,157 candidates registered for the examination, 234,682 actually sat for the examination.
According to Okpala, NECO recorded 236,613 cases of examination malpractice in the examination.
â€œAnalysis of malpractice by state, subject and type showed there are 236,613 cases.â€â€œ
There were 82,647 cases of aiding and abetting as well as seeking and receiving help from non-candidates. Other cases were mass cheating: 65,348 impersonating; 40,876; and irregular activities inside or outside the exam hall, 12,728.
Cheating detected at marking venue (double script) were 12,502, bringing in of foreign materials inside the hall; 6,212, collective insult and violent behaviour; 4,618 and absent but had answer script; 4,299 cases.
Collusion; 1,761, use of electronic communication gadgets inside the hall; 1,436, cheating detected at marking venue (copying foreign materials); 1,279, and bringing in electronic communication gadgets into the hall; 1,049 cases.
Okpala said that the highest cases of malpractices were recorded in Kogi State with 27.63%, Bauchi 23.08%, and Ondo 23.06%. States with the least malpractice cases include FCT 1.14%, Abia State 1.7% and Oyo State 4.63%.
Subjects with the highest cases of malpractice are Mathematics with a total of 27,720 cases, English 26,699 cases, Biology 25,577, Economics 24,708 while the lowest is Shorthand with 18 cases.
Okpala, while expressing dismay on the result, believed it has brought to the fore the need for reassessing of learning and teaching in secondary schools.