| By Anayo Ezugwu |
THE year 2014 was not particularly good for the education sector in Nigeria. It started with a carry-over of industrial actions embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic, ASUP, and the Colleges of Education of Academic Staff Union, COEASU, which made students to sit at home for more than nine months before it was called off. The unions suspended their strikes in July after the federal government accepted to meet their demands.
The unions alleged that the federal government refused to implement the release of the white paper on the report of the visitation panel to federal polytechnics, non-implementation of the Needs Assessment of public polytechnics and welfare of members and removal of dichotomy between High National Diploma, HND, graduates and those with university degrees in placement and career progression.
As if that was not bad enough, in May, the country witnessed mass failure in most of the external examinations conducted in the country. The results of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, for 2014 released by the board showed that many candidates failed the entrance examination. According to Dibu Ojerinde, registrar of JAMB, 24 candidates scored 250 points and above in the examination, 315,401 candidates scored between 170 and 199 points, while 108,488 candidates scored between 200 and 249 points. He said this was the outcome of the Paper Pencil Test, PPT and Dual Based Test, DBT conducted for the year under review.
Ojerinde said 990,179 applied for the PPT while 25,325 applied for the DBT, making a total of 1,015,504 applications for both modes of testing. He said 275, 282 candidates scored below 150 points, 122,159 scored between 150 to 159 points while 115,456 scored 160 to 169 points in the PPT mode. The board also invalidated the results of 36,164 students.
Likewise, the West Africa Examination Council, WAEC, results released for May/June 2014, in August recorded mass failure in Mathematics and English Language. Charles Eguridu, head of national office, WAEC, said a total of 529,425 candidates, representing 31.28 percent, obtained credits in five (5) subjects and above, including English Language and Mathematics. The results of 145,795 candidates, representing 8.61 percent are being withheld in connection with various types of examination malpractice.
He said out of 1,692,435 candidates that sat for the examination, 791,227 candidates representing 46.75 percent obtained six (6) credits and above, just as a total of 982,472 candidates representing 58.05 percent obtained five (5) credits and above. In addition, he stated that 1,148,262 candidates, representing 67.84 percent obtained credits and above in four (4) subjects, while 1,293,389 candidates, representing 76.42 percent obtained credits and above in three (3) subjects.
In August the nation recorded another mass failure at the Nigerian Law School. The results of students released for the 2013/2014 set of graduates showed that more than 3,000 students failed the examination which is a prerequisite for them to be called to bar as barristers. The results showed that out of the 5,000 candidates who registered for the school, less than 2,000 candidates passed. This is the highest failure the Nigerian Law School has witnessed since its 50 years of existence.
The federal government in July appointed Ibrahim Shekarau, former governor of Kano as the minister of education. His appointment came at a critical time, when federal government was trying to implement its agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU, and the National Association of non-Academic Staff Union of Tertiary and Allied Institutions.
— Jan. 5, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT