The dwindling and embarrassing performance of Nigerian students in the secondary schools in SSCE and NECO examinations were brought to the fore last year with the shocking and startling revelation that less than 20 percent of the entire students that sat for the two examinations in 2009 obtained up to five credit and above. It was further revealed that the performance of candidates in both English language and Mathematics in the two examinations under discuss were abysmal. This disturbing scenario has attracted critical comments from many Nigerians. While it is agreed that the situation is a national embarrassment especially to our educational sector at the secondary school level, the question many educationally conscious Nigerians are asking is, what can be done to prevent a re-occurrence?
In order to prevent this, government needs to take a holistic look at our education at the secondary school level with a view to resuscitating it from its present distress. It should urgently carry out an audit of teachers in our public secondary schools with a view to flushing out the unqualified ones among them. It is a discredit to the entire educational system to have many unqualified teachers in our secondary schools while many qualified and well trained teachers remain perpetually unemployed. Again government both at the federal and state levels should as a matter of urgency employ more teachers for secondary schools to ensure efficiency and optimal performance. A situation where teachers up to three or four subjects in a school is not healthy. Also the phasing out of boarding system in most of our secondary schools is inimical to the system and should be revisited urgently. In the past, the boarding system helped to regulate the activities of students towards academic excellence and good moral upbringing. By living together, students learnt a lot from one another and also encouraged one another academically.
Government both at all levels should resuscitate boarding facilities in our secondary schools and encourage parents to allow their children to live in them rather than go to schools from private houses. Again, critical assessment of the performance of students should be emphasized. To this end, the idea of mass promotion of students from one class to another should be totally discouraged and discarded. This will ultimately encourage students to work extra hard to earn promotion from one class to another and prevent the presentation of ill-prepared candidates for these two examinations. Again, the idea of aiding examination malpractice by teachers in secondary schools should be seriously checked as this has often given these students the false impression that harkwork is of no use since they will receive assistance from their teachers during these examinations. W.A.E.C. and N.E.C.O. officials should therefore monitor their examinations critically to ensure that malpractice of any sort is reduced to the barest minimum. The Federal and State Governments should as a matter of necessity ensure the availability of text books for students in our secondary schools.
We shall be expecting too much from these students if they don’t have adequate books to help them prepare well for their examinations and yet want them to pass in flying colours. It should also be stressed that parents have a major role to play in the educational development of their children. They should compliment the laudable efforts of government in providing reading materials for their children. While at home, they should monitor the activities of their children closely. They could do this by ensuring that their children devote more time to reading their books and doing their assignments and spend less time watching movies. Again, parents should not over-burden their children with a lot of household responsibilities at home since such errands will make them pay less attention to their books. No effort should be spared in ensuring that our secondary school students who are the leaders of tomorrow do well in these two examinations since their future to a large extent may depend on what they make out of it.
Source: recorded live from FRCN daily commentary