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Editorial: Students Failure: A Top Agenda For Parents

By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, Nigeria Bureau, Lagos

Mass failure in some periodic and public examinations is not totally strange. Still, what may be peculiar to each of the poor performance on records are the factors, respective solutions and most importantly, the alarming rate of the disastrous showing in recent times.

In the late 80s – during the tenure of former Military President Ibrahim Babangida, the late Bashorun MKO Abiola having being informed and disturbed with the news of very saddened massive failure of the West African Examination Council, (WAEC) candidates for that year, directed re – registration of many secondary school leavers then in certain parts of the country to resit the exams.

The major reason then adduced for the below average performance was that the bulk of the candidates were ruthless and handy products of free education policy of the second Republic civilian administration, which Babangida military junta toppled about three years earlier.

Ever since, the outcomes of the results have been relatively better, until the last three academic sessions when the trend degenerated from bad to worst. It is necessary at this point to establish that the present alarming situation is also the manifestation of many previous undoings by different stakeholders in the education sector, in particular, the parents and government.

For instance, the outcome of May/June 2014 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) conducted by WAEC indicated very poor showing in two compulsory subjects – English Language and Mathematics. The foremost sub regional examination body revealed last week that a total of 529,425 candidates, representing 31.28 per cent obtained credits in five subjects and above, (including the two key subjects).

Also, the current result revealed out of 1,692,435 candidates who wrote the last examination,  791,227 candidates, representing 46.75 per cent obtained 6 credits and above, while  a total of 982,472 candidates representing 58.05 per cent obtained 5 credits and above (excluding the two master subjects). In similar, stead, a total of  1,148,262 candidates, representing 67.84 per cent obtained credits and above in 4 subjects, while 1,293,389 candidates, about 76.42 per cent, obtained credits and above in 3 subjects! This is however beside 145,795 candidates, representing 8.61 per cent whose results were withheld owing to examination malpractices.

Students writing WAEC Exams

Students writing WAEC Exams

It was a similar nasty and disturbing outcome of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination in its last two editions. For instance, the 2013 results which it said was an improvement to 2012 indicated that only 10 candidates scored 300 marks and above, while 127,017 candidates scored between 1-159 marks!

Again, about 40,692 candidates’ results were invalid due to various degrees of errors while total of 47,974 candidates did not turn up for the exam. A total of 1,644,110 candidates registered for the year’s universities entrance examination.

The ongoing year  tolled the same line as only 24 candidates scored 250 and above in the PPT while 23 candidates scored 250 and above in the DBT in the examination written by 1,015,504 candidates!

The JAMB Chief Executive, Professor Dibu Ojerinde, revealed that PPT, 275,282 candidates scored below 150; 122,157 scored between 150 and 159; 115,456 scored between160 and 169; 315,401 candidates scored from 170-199 while 108,488 candidates recorded  between 200 and 249 marks.

There are number of factors to these terrible performances, but chief amongst them are from the home front. First, many parents owing to the engaging work schedule, tasking career or incompetence, is some cases  failed to create time for proper attention on how some of the students fair in their studies.

This has its corresponding impacts as such parents lack knowledge of what their (students) thought are especially with regards to their life ambition, counseling, moderating and persistent guidance. More disturbing is that many parents do not know which area of fields their young ones strength lie.

Unfortunately, some parents are misled with the assumption that their wards are up to the task. Someone shared with me recently how he was jolted when his daughter sat for an external examination and later sent a woeful result in mathematics.

Whereas, the girl’s has been consistently been graded high in her school. In fact, the father rejected the last promotional result as it was visibly altered and mangled to shoot up her overall point. This is an agenda for the school owners, in particular private and it shall be considered shortly.

Another blunder from so many of the parents is the my ‘child must pass by all means’ mentality. Ironically, the same parents have no other input than paying the school fees and settling the mercenaries bills and exchanging hands with the staffers of the schools or centres where the examinations hold.

What is more harrowing was the fact that every parent – literate, semi literate and illiterate belong to ‘the band wagon’ trail – giving little or no attention to diligence and independence (of students) while the examinations last.

Worst still, some parents out of desire to pamper, distract some of the students. Today, secondary school folks use smart phones, tablets, i phones, android, blackberry and the likes. If the use of these devices are restricted to home only, perhaps better, but what happens now is that some of the parents do not care or even encourage unrestricted use of these communication gadgets as a show off! The question is what level of concentration do you get from such young ones in schools? In any case, the equipment in most cases, are not used for any serious purpose, rather than frivolities. This takes the discussion to the social media angle and their effects.

The platforms ordinarily, are good channels for easy and effective socio-economic interaction and relations. Therefore, their usefulness to the students is obviously enormous and unlimited. Unfortunately, so many of the students misuse the benefits of some of the handles. Very good percentage of them can stay glue to the net 24 hours, doing nothing really meaningful, but only gossiping, dating and involving in so many loosed and miserable amorous charting and interactions. Facebook plays host to whole lot of them daily.

Whereas, some of the hours they spend pinging and wasting away are the same time ought to be devoted for good academic exercise.

The private school owners are not helping matters at all. Some of them are more business minded than being mind and life builders. They connive with the desperate parents, exploit them – by charging exorbitantly and promise to deliver – ensure students come up with good grades in the exams. Painfully, this works in some cases while it does not in some. Where it works, the result is evident in incompetence of some of the young folks while in and after leaving the universities. There are many (fresh graduates) today with good university grades but who cannot defend the results they hold.

Yet, the garration and trends in the entertainment world is yet another serious and very worrisome perspective to this debate. Today, so many of the secondary school students are very good at miming and dancing to swaggering azonto dancing steps of raving hip hop stars. They have in their memory and save the soft copies in their phones latest tracks of ‘Skeleu’ by Davido; ‘Double wahala…’ by Oritshe Femi; ‘Dorobucci’ by Tiwa Savage, Reekado Banks, Dr. Sid, Korede Bello and D Prince; the remix, collabo and many hit tracks of Olamide, youthful Wizkid, Bonaboy, Phyno, Skales, Li Keh-Little kelch as well as the veteran D Bang and others.

Music is an instrument of good socialization, education, cultural promotion and exchanges, intellectual advancement as well as means of social and economic freedom. But unfortunately, some of these young ones misplace their priority and get the thinking wrong; hence the whole essence of the art (music) is lost on them.

The parents have a big and fundamental role to play in re–orientating some of the students and re-engineering of the ensuing terrible situation. It is an error on the part of the parents to conclude that their wards will be given the needed training, counselling and guidance in the schools. Indeed, they are very wrong to think that only the huge school fees paid can get their wards on the right tracks.

The fact should be established that the parents are the pathfinders while their teachers are the navigators. When parents set good agenda and enviable standard, the children naturally and conveniently embrace and follow suit. In order words, the parents are the best teachers, the best friends and the best counselors to their wards.  So the heaviest task is on them.

Finally, the government can do very well by upgrading the public school system to compete conveniently with the private. This is achievable as there are resources in its custody to put in place better and more than the ‘standard’ (structures and facilities) available in some of the high brow private schools. Most importantly, the government should standardize education, to the extent of making a career in teaching not perceived to be as the last resort for those with poor grades or the frustrated employment seekers. If teaching career in public schools is equated to real corporate settings, no parent will foolishly put before teachers, any mischievous advance for shortcut results.

 The Glass House Power Debacle

Read through this build up, please.

July 04, 2014 – NFF President, Aminu Maigari was intercepted at airport on arrival from Brazil and whisked away by security operatives for questioning on alleged financial misconducts.

July 05, 2014 – NFF Extra-Ordinary Congress announced Maigari’s sack as glass house head (the first time).

July 09, 2014 – FIFA slammed suspension on NFF, hinging action on undue interference on football house affairs.

July 18, 2014 – FIFA lifted ban on Nigeria with understanding Maigari will be reinstated.

July 24, 2014 – Maigari for the second time, within less than three weeks was sacked by the NFF Executive committee on alleged financial misappropriation. He was replaced with his Vice, Mike Umeh on acting capacity.

August 15, 2014 – Sports Minister, Tamuno Danagogo announced reinstatement of Maigari.

August 18, 2014 – Maigari resumed office with Umeh staying back, also claiming head of the glass house.

August 20, 2014 – Glass house on fire – scribe’s office, account and ICT departments only affected! The same day, the NFF electoral committee cleared Segun Odegbami and Umeh who penultimate this week were disqualified with Taiwo Ogunjobi, to contest the NFF Presidency.

Maigari was quoted as calling for investigations into the NFF house inferno and vowing the culprits would face the full wrath of the law. On his part, Umeh accused his rival head, saying the fire after his resumption was questionable. He asserted Maigari’s presence in the glass house “is a continuous desperation to stay in power”.

What a sequential, revealing, yet, intriguing build-up? What is going on in NFF is the replica of power struggle in the country’s political circle. And what is more agonizing is that the ongoing cold war is largely for personal interests. So, Nigerians are asking who set the glass house on fire and for what reason(s)? Will the arsonist (s) go unpunished just like many others? Nigeria, still many long way to go.

E-mail: tjaysuccess10@gmail.com




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