By Henry Umoru
ABUJA — FORMER Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, attributed mass failure recorded by Nigerian students in the May/June 2014 West African Examinations Council to the non-chalant attitude of government to education from primary to university level.
He described failure of the students as the nation’s failure.
According to him, the failure of the students is no surprise to anyone, in view of the series of strikes suffered by the school system in the country.
Atiku in a statement personally signed and made available to journalists in Abuja, said: “The West Africa Examination Council, WAEC, has just released the results of the May/June 2014 Senior School Certificate Examination. As was the case last year, mass failure was recorded by Nigerian students.
“Only 31.28 per cent of the students who sat for the 2014 exam obtained credits in five subjects and above, including Mathematics and English Language.
“No one who has been observing the ongoing attitude towards education in Nigeria will be surprised by this. In the past year alone, industrial action by teachers have dominated the news headlines. Primary school teachers in Benue State, for example, embarked on an eight-month strike to demand better conditions and allowances.
“Teachers all over Nigeria remain poorly paid, with several jokes being peddled about how parents are reluctant to allow their daughters marry teachers.
“In addition to poor welfare, teachers in the Northeast of Nigeria face a peculiar challenge not common to their colleagues in other parts of the country.
The National Union of Teachers, NUT, reports that the organisation has so far lost about 173 of their members to Boko Haram terrorist attacks.
“Sadly, with the Nigerian government not yet able to adequately protect citizens from these random attacks, that number could easily increase.
“There is also the issue of competence of Nigerian teachers. Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State recently lost his seat in a re-election bid with poll results that sent shock waves across the nation, notwithstanding his well-publicised record of high performance.
“One of the reasons political analysts have given for his rejection by Ekiti people was his attempt to improve the quality of teachers in the state by putting them through competency tests. “Teachers in Kwara and Edo states also resisted similar tests.”