Tackling Mass Failure In Public Examinations

News Introduction: 
Stakeholders in the education sector ponder over mass failure of students in Secondary School Certificate Examination. - By Victor Osehobo

It was a blame game by stakeholders in Edo State over the repeated mass failure of students from the state in the November/December National Examination Council, NECO, examinations.  Last year, students of Edo State origin who sat for NECO examinations posted poor results. This was also the same in the recently released NECO examination. According to the result, no student who sat for the 25 subjects offered by the examination body scored above 50 percent mark. The failure was said to be high among students in private schools.
Many reasons were listed for the students’ poor performance. Solomon Osarenren, a mathematics teacher in one of the private schools in the state capital, Benin City, blamed this on lack of seriousness on the part of the students. Osarenren said most students are lazy and do not take their studies serious. “Students of those days performed even better than students of today even without infrastructure that are in schools of today.” He also blamed the problem on lack of infrastructure in the schools. Also a retired headmaster, Chief Richard Abulu, called for regular training and re-training of teachers, as well as the provision of teaching aids in the schools. Abulu advised parents and guardians to regulate activities of their children at home with a view to making them more responsible and serious with their studies.
But parents blame the teachers and the government for the poor performance of students in Senior School Certificate Examinations, SSCE. A parent, Mrs. Oghomen Osarobo, said most teachers in private schools lack basic academic qualifications to teach. She also called for consistency in the educational policies of government.
The registrar/chief executive officer of NABTEB, Dr. Olatunde Aworanti, called for the promotion of technical and vocational education. He suggested the de-emphasis on paper qualifications and called on parents to encourage their children to go to technical colleges. 
Most private schools are said to lack basic teaching infrastructure, while some of them serve as “miracle centres” where students indulge in examination malpractices in connivance with the school authorities and some parents.  
But former presidential adviser, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, wants people to appreciate the role played by private schools in the nation’s education system. Professor Ihonvbere called for the integration of the private school system into the state’s education sector. He said such a move is the least a government could do to appreciate the important role the private school sub-sector plays by providing a credible alternative to the shamefully embarrassing public school system in the state.  He suggested the appointment of representatives of private schools in the committee that would help reposition the education sector in the state.


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