As usual, the National Examination Council (NECO) has recorded another poor outing of candidates in its November/December 2012 Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE). Giving details of the results in Minna recently, the Registrar and Chief Executive of the Council, Professor Promise Obioma, said that 71.92 percent of candidates who registered for Further (Additional) Mathematics in the examination failed the subject. Similarly, the NECO boss said that 94.13 percent of candidates failed Physics while 21,274 cases of malpractice were recorded across the country during the examinations.
A breakdown of the results shows that out of 2,310 that sat for Further Mathematics in the examination, 352 or 15.23 percent had credit while 208 or nine percent got pass. Even at that, the NECO boss said that the results showed remarkable improvement from what obtained in the last three years. For English Language, out of the 75,632 candidates that sat for the examination, 25,620 or 33.89 percent had credit while 15,268 or 20.18 percent had ordinary pass. Not less than 32,425 candidates or 42.87 percent failed the subject. In the case of Ordinary Mathematics, out of the 75,245 candidates that sat for the examination, 41,228 or 54.79 percent obtained credit while 8,034 or 10.67 percent had pass.
A total of 23,962 or 31.84 percent failed. Out of 35,194 candidates that sat for Chemistry, 10,620 or 30.17 percent had credit; 4,501 or 12.178 percent got ordinary pass, while 18,974 or 53.91 percent failed. Of the 35,057 candidates that sat for Physics, 94 or 0.26 percent had credit; 874 or 2.49 percent got pass while 33,000 failed. We bemoan the continuing slide in performance of candidates in SSSCE. This deteriorating standard in education, especially at the secondary school level, is worrisome and deserves some urgent remedial action by all stakeholders in the nation’s education system. It is regrettable that the standard of education in the country has fallen to abysmal level. We have not had it so bad before.
The standard has gone so low that some Nigerians now send their wards to Ghana and other neighboring West African countries for secondary and university education. That is a measure of loss of confidence by the people in the nation’s education system. There is no doubt that the standard of everything in Nigeria is far below expectation. Most government schools in Nigeria, especially primary and secondary schools, are in their worst state.
They have dilapidated infrastructure and obsolete equipment. School furniture is nothing to write home about. The declining standard of education is a major causative factor for the mass failure being recorded continually in the core subjects in SSSCE. Government at all levels should share the blame for the sorry state of education in the country. All of them pay lip service to the beleaguered sector. Government has not taken education as a priority.
The ill-equipped and poorly motivated teachers also contribute to the worsening standard of education, generally. Government should declare an emergency in the education sector. It should allocate more resources to education and ensure that they are well utilised. Although the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommends that all member nations allocate 26 percent of their annual budget to education, Nigeria has never for once allotted such to education. Our education budget has not even reached or exceeded 10 percent. The poor funding of the education sector is what the nation has been reaping in students’ poor performance in public examinations over the years.
It has equally led to the production of half-baked university graduates. It is a pity that Nigerian youths have more time for mobile phones and social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others than they have for their studies. Our youths should be made to understand that success comes only through hard work. Government should find ways to reward high-flying teachers and bright students.
While dedicated teachers can be handsomely rewarded, bright students should be given scholarships to study in the best schools in Nigeria and abroad. Government should invest heavily on education because most advanced countries have a history of committing a significant percentage of their annual budget to education.