The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, Lagos State Area Unit has expressed dissatisfaction with the decline in performance recorded at the 2014 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results. President of the students-based society, Alhaji Kamil Kalejaiye noted that the decline was an indication that Nigeria was losing its pride of place in education.
Kalejaiye, in a press statement, quoted the Head of National Office, WAEC, Mr. Charles Eguridu, as saying only 529,425 candidates representing 31.28 per cent, obtained credit passes in five subjects and above, including English Language and Mathematics.
He reasoned that when compared to the 2012 and 2013 May/June WASSCE results; there was marginal decline in the performance of candidates, saying 38.81 per cent was recorded in 2012 and 36.57 per cent in 2013.
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Kalejaiye suggested that adequate infrastructures, proper remuneration and teachers’ training, review of curriculum and promotion of academic activities among others as means of reducing failure in the examination.
He said, “If only 31.28 of the 1,692,435 candidates that sat for the examination are those that passed with necessary subjects (Mathematics and English), we should know that if care is not taken, we will completely lose our pride of place in education among the West African countries. It is also not encouraging that 86,822 candidates representing 5.13 per cent have a few of their subjects still being processed due to some errors.
“We have come to a point where government at all levels must realize that without quality education, Nigeria will hardly grow except with the help of Allah. Government must not only invest in education, but ensure proper implementation and usage of the funds. It is only in this part of the world that we spend much and still have poor output. Government should begin to place its appointment in the education sector based on merit. Good budgeting and policies require good and dedicated manager for efficiency.”
The group challenged government and stakeholders in the educational sector to initiate a rewarding system that would surpass that of athletes and entertainers for outstanding students.
He added, “It is worrisome to us that students are not doing well in mathematics and English Language, which are the core subjects. What this means is that the left brain that is responsible for analytical thoughts, logic, language reasoning, written and number skills has not been properly trained. This is to show that the recorded decline in performance must be attended to with utmost urgency; it must be treated as an emergence situation for the benefit of the country’s development.
“We must also say that social activities promoted by government and private individuals/organisations also contribute to the challenges being faced in primary education. It still remain a wonder to us why top government officials including President Goodluck Jonathan and states governors give grand welcoming and host parties for athletes/celebrities who emerge victorious and sometimes defeated while outstanding students are less celebrated. We challenge and await the day a governor or the president will announce millions of naira and scholarship for students who emerge top in different states.”
To reduce failure in WASSCE, the youth leader said MSSN LSAU usually organise a pre-WAEC/GCE examination for students to measure their level of preparedness.
He advised parents and guardians to monitor the activities of their children, warning them not to engage in illicit acts or bribery.
“As an organisation with the mission of building young generations to be outstanding, we usually hold a preparatory examination for candidates and prospective candidate of WASSCE, which helps to prepare and monitor their level of performance. Our experience in the last preparatory exam shows that more attention needs to be put in tutoring of students in Mathematics and English Language.
“But instead of taking corrective measures by tutoring, what we see today is that parents and schools go as far as bribing examinations officials. In some instances, they patronise the so called 'special centers'. Government should initiate a policy to battle and stop illegal activities during WAEC. This will help to encourage students to read and get better result,” he added.