BY AMAKA ABAYOMI, LAJU ARENYEKA & IKENNA ASOMBA
The release of the 2012/2013 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) last week, has once again spotlighted the crisis bedeviling the education sector.
Many Nigerians are accustomed to issues such as examination malpractice and lack of admission spaces into higher institutions, but there are new challenges as well. In this report, Vanguard Learning focuses old and new issues that this development has brought to the fore.
Insecurity and incomplete results
The Head of Nigeria National office, WAEC, Mr. Charles Eguridu, told journalists last week that the council was “unable to provide statistics of those who obtained credit and above in five subjects, including Mathematics and English at this time, because many candidates in the north eastern part of the country have partial results at the moment due to security challenges encountered during the last examinations, particularly the loss of scripts.”
It would be recalled that three WAEC personnel were brutally murdered by unknown gunmen on their way from Yola to Maiduguri during the conduct of the last exams.
The WAEC Nigeria boss said; “Of course, writing examinations under so much tension must have affected the performance of students, but the Council is working hand in hand with government security agents to avoid the recurrence of such a tragedy in the future.”
Of the 1,671,268 candidates who wrote this year’s May/June WASSCE, 112,865 candidates (6.75%) had their results withheld in connection with various cases of examination malpractice.
The situation last year was not much different as WAEC withheld112, 000 results in the May/June 2012 diet, and 47,289 results in the November/December diet. However, after the National Examination Council (NEC) of the Council reviewed the results, 10,602 of the May/June results were released, and the others cancelled.
When the results of the May/June 2011 examinations were released, 81,573 candidates, 5.29 % of the total population, had their results withheld on the same grounds. For the November/December diet, there were 39,066 cases. The trend goes on and on. 77,168 results were withheld in the May/June 2010 diet, and 51,876 in the November/December diet.
Stakeholders in the education sector have expressed concern over the growing rate of examination malpractice in school leaving examinations such as the WASSCE.
Lamenting the menace, the Principal, Caro Favoured College, Awodiora, Lagos, Mr. Mark Okoh, opined that government should take a bold step in providing massive infrastructure, adequate manpower and the enabling environment.
“Government has greater responsibility to play in curbing examination malpractice. Once teachers are provided with the right infrastructure and teaching facilities, there will be no need for students to indulge in examination malpractice because a larger percentage of them must have been imparted with the right academic training to perform brilliantly during national examinations like WASSCE.”
On the contrary, the Principal, May Day Schools, Isolo, Lagos, Mr. Oke Williams, said government must not solely be blamed for the widespread of examination malpractice as, according to him, parents and teachers have greater roles to play.
“The issue of examination malpractice is worrisome for every stakeholder that wants the progress of our educational system. Government alone can’t be blamed because parents and teachers have greater roles to play in shaping the students into better citizens. Teachers, and most especially the parents, must teach their children the right virtues because charity, they say, begins at home. When this is done, the menace will certainly be reduced. However, it’s time culprits of examination malpractice are punished to serve as deterrent to others.”
Of the total number of candidates that sat for the examination, 889,636 (53.23%) obtained six credits and above; 1,074,065 candidates, (64.26%) obtained five credits and above. In addition 1,225,591 candidates (73.33%) obtained credit and above in four subjects; 1,353,273 candidates (80.97%) obtained credit and above in three subjects while 1,465,581 candidates obtained credit and above in two subjects.
Although 1,689,188 candidates registered, only 1,671,268, (920,416 males and 750,852 females) sat for the examinations. 1,543,683 candidates (91.38%) have their results fully released, while 145,505 candidates (8.62%) have a few of their subjects being processed.