Nigerians got cheering news recently when the West African Examination Council (WAEC) released the results of the May/June 2016 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). Going by the details supplied, 1,544,234 candidates sat for the examination, out of which 1,167,484, representing 75.6 percent, obtained five credits and above. Another 1,282,204 (83.03 percent) obtained four (4) credits and above. These are significant thresholds for admission into tertiary institutions.
The icing on the cake is the remarkable improvement in the candidates’ performance in the two key subjects of English Language and Mathematics. A total of 878,040 candidates, amounting to 52.97 percent, obtained credits in five subjects and above, including English Language and Mathematics.
This year’s results are a remarkable improvement on the dismal performances posted in recent years. Only 36.57 percent of the candidates who sat for 2013 WASSCE obtained five credits including English and Mathematics. It was 38.81 percent in 2012; 24.94 percent in 2010; 25.99 percent in 2009 and 25.54 percent in 2007.
Overall, the outcome of this examination is a positive development and we urge all the stakeholders, including the schools and teachers, to do everything that is necessary to sustain the improved performance. Relevant stakeholders should see the results as an incentive for better collaboration with our schools to further improve this outcome.
The hope of laying a very solid foundation for our education and country rests with the primary and secondary schools. Careful attention must, therefore, be paid to the needs of teachers and students at these levels. Government funding is inadequate. The government needs to develop the will to properly fund education. All other stakeholders – parents, businesses, internal partners and indeed, all lovers of education, should also help to ensure that the present gain is not reversed.
We note, too, that the conduct of this year’s examination went without major hitches. A total of 158,718 candidates, representing 9.74 percent, had a few of their subjects still being processed due to some errors traceable to the candidates and their schools during the registration process.
We urge government to provide the enabling environment required for our educational sector to achieve good results. That is one reason we commend the on-going effort to hire 500,000 additional teachers. The recruitment of teachers should be a continuous exercise until we have the actual number of teachers required to man our public schools.
The correction of the rot in the education sector should be a national priority. This is a responsibility that we have not properly addressed. Apart from improving staffing, we have to also work on the quality and professionalism of those who teach, especially at the basic levels. There is also the issue of their work environment and its competitiveness.
Government should make adequate budgetary provision for education, as was the case in the First Republic and in the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) – controlled states in the Second Republic, with good results to show for it. All other stakeholders should not shy away from committing more resources to education. It is only when this happens that outcomes like the current 2016 May/June WASSCE result can be sustained and improved upon.
There is a lot that can be achieved by a nation through focused planning and visionary leadership. The 2016 WASSCE results caught many stakeholders by surprise. Many are, in fact, presently interrogating what significantly changed in the country to afford us these positive results in the examination. While the jury is still out, some insiders have attributed the surprise improvement to better involvement by parents and guardians in the education of their children and wards.
This should not be totally out of place. The current economic squeeze is making parents take more interest in the education of their children. It costs them a fortune now. This has resulted in pressure on the teachers to deliver more and ultimately, on the students to justify the huge investments in preparing them for the examinations.
This is one example of some good coming out of economic adversity. We congratulate the students, their teachers, the parents and indeed, government on this laudable improvement in the May/June 2016 WASSCE results, and look forward to even better performance in this critical examination in the coming years.
Doing so will be playing with the lives of 150 million or more Nigerians. This is unacceptable. The doctors should be empowered to discharge their responsibility of care to Nigerians.