Educationists are worried over the poor performance of candidates in the West African Examination Council/GCE examination
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Jan. 20, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT
THE poor performance of candidates in West African Examination Council, WAEC/GCE examination is a source of worry to experts in the education sector. The results of the WAEC, November/December 2013 examination which was released recently showed that only 86,612 candidates, representing 29.17 percent of the candidates who sat for the examination obtained credits and above in five subjects including English Language and Mathematics.
Charles Eguridu, head of national office, WAEC, while announcing the results in Lagos, said that a total of 308,217 candidates registered for the examination out of which 296, 827 candidates consisting of 163, 659 males and 133,168 females sat for the examination. Of the total number of candidates, 299,784, including absentees have their results fully released. Eguridu said 8,433 candidates representing 2.74 percent of the total number of candidates have a few of their subjects still being processed due to some errors candidates made in the course of registration or while writing the examination.
He noted that of the total number of candidates who sat for the examination, 120,115 representing 40.46 percent obtained six credits and above; 161,721; candidates representing 54. 48 percent obtained five credits and above; 198,832 candidates representing 66.98 percent obtained credits and above in four subjects while 230,325 candidates, representing 77.59 percent obtained credits and above in three subjects, while a total of 256,500 candidates, representing 86.41 percent obtained credits and above in two subjects.
According to him, the results when compared to the November/December 2011 and 2012 WAEC (Private) showed a decline. “Based on this, when compared to the November/December 2011 and 2012 WASSCE (Private), there is a marked decline in candidates’ performance. 299,784 candidates, 97.26 percent have their results fully released, while 8,433, candidates representing 2.74 percent have a few of their subjects still being processed due to some errors mainly traceable to the candidates and cyber cafes in the course of registration or writing the examination. Such errors are being corrected by the Council to enable the affected candidates get their results. 38,260 results representing 12.88 percent are being withheld in connection with examination malpractice. Such cases are being investigated and the reports of the investigations will be presented to the Nigerian Examinations Committee, NEC, of the council in due course for consideration. The committee’s decisions will be communicated to the affected candidates through their schools,” he said.
When asked the possible reasons for the poor results in the past few years, he said the council was not in the best position to decipher the reasons, but noted that majority of the candidates who wrote the examinations this time were working class people who most likely did not have enough time to give appropriate attention to their studies.
Matthias Chibueze, an educationist, said the neglect of internal mechanisms in schools to ensure students are well prepared for examinations contributed to the decline and poor performance in WAEC/GCE examination. Such internal mechanism includes mock exams organised by schools before external exams take place. He said in the mid 1970’s, school leavers could apply for employment in any organisation or seek for admission into any institution of higher learning by merely waving their mock West African School Certificate result. The mock examination was mostly organised by state ministries of education or individual schools and was the reliable barometer school administrators needed to gauge the performance of their students when they prepare to write the real school certificate examinations.
“Today, mock examinations have gone out of fashion; they are dead. Candidates are no longer required to include their mock results when they fill the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, forms; the space no longer exists on the forms because, like a bad dream, schools and state ministries of education no longer have the time or resources to conduct mock examinations. Officials of federal and state ministries of education, many of them products of the old system, no longer see the reason for its re-introduction. In the few public schools where a semblance of this ‘old school’ practice is in still in vogue, it is at best, a mere charade; an unimaginative way through which some unimaginative government officials try to squeeze something out of an unimaginative system,” he said.
According to Chibueze, the current situation is not helped by desperate parents and guardians who do unimaginable things to abet examination malpractice. These days, most parents sit back and wish for a return to the old days when they went to school forgeting, in the process, that ‘in those days’ they were fortunate to pass through the hands of teachers whose ilk is now extinct. “The result is that, today, we parents go the whole hog to abet examination malpractice without addressing the cause of their wards’ dismal performance. Such parents see only the hands ranging from those of the National Examinations Council, NECO, the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, NABTEB or JAMB, and not their own hands, when apportioning blames as to the cause of high failure rate in school examinations.”
Lawrence Okeh, an Enugu-based education guidance and counsellor, attributed the cause of the mass failure in various external examinations to unqualified teachers in both private and public schools. He said that members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, posted to teach in secondary schools without relevant qualifications should also be blamed. He said that the relevant authorities should stop deploying corps members who lack basic teaching knowledge to schools, emphasising that this act contributed to the mass failure currently witnessed in the country in recent years. “The issue of having mass failure is a process. Parts of the people contributing to the process are the corps members. It is an abuse to teaching profession. Government should stop posting unqualified youth corps members to teach in schools. I’m against posting of NYSC members without teaching background to schools,” he said, adding that only graduates of education should be posted to schools to teach students.