RECENTLY, two major public examinations bodies released results of the candidates that sat for their tests. They are the Joint Admissions & Matriculations Board (JAMB) and the National Examinations Council (NECO). JAMB released results for the Unified Tertiary Matriculations Examinations while NECO released results for the 2011 November/December Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE).
According to JAMB, only three candidates scored above 300 from a total of 1,503,931 that registered for the test. Giving more figures, JAMB's Registrar/Chief Executive, Professor Dibu Ojerinde said 72, 243 scored 250 and above while 336,330 scored below 170. He added that 374,920 candidates scored between 170 and above, 601,151 candidates scored between 200 and 249 while 901 scored between 270 and 299.
For NECO, Registrar/Chief Executive of the organisation, Professor Promise Okpala, while releasing the results said 104,187 candidates sat for the 2011 November/December Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE). A breakdown of the result showed that 104,187 sat for English Language. 15,669 or 14.15 per cent of them recorded pass while 75,355 or 68.06per cent failed.
In Mathematics, 101,792 sat for the paper with 45,547 or 41.19 per cent having credit and above and 10,328 or 9.34 per cent with ordinary pass.
These really are dismal performance figures, and truly give cause for concern. Indeed, many stakeholders like parents, teachers and school administrators have even called for a state of emergency to be declared in the education sector.
Nigerians rarely achieve consensus on any issue, but it seems that there is a national consensus that some drastic, corrective measure be taken to address the downward spiral in the fortunes of our education system. While the bodies concerned -- the federal and state ministries of education and their countless parastatals knock heads together on ways out of this national problem, we would do well to look in other directions for solutions.
There is no gainsaying the fact that inadequate funding and low quality of teachers are partly responsible, which is why it will serve our purpose to immediately implement the UNESCO recommendation that 26 per cent of the national budget be devoted to education, something we have not even come close to.
In the 2012 budget bill that President Jonathan is yet to sign into law, the allocation to education is a paltry N400.15 billion, or 8.43 per cent of the total. Even at that, a whopping N345.091bn (82%) was voted to recurrent expenditure while a meager N55.056bn (18%) is for capital expenditure. Worse, N317.896bn was proposed for personnel costs and N27.192bn was for overheads. This means that our children, for whom we set up primary, secondary and tertiary institutions actually get very little from the votes; the rest goes to pay for official residences, official cars, fuel, generators, overseas trips, estacodes and other perks of the mandarins that run the education system.
There is need for urgent action on this so that we can begin to turn around the failing fortunes of our educational system to enable it turn out Nigerians that can compete globally in the 21st century knowledge economy. This is because, from the figures, even the N400 billion, judiciously appropriated, will go a long way in turning things round for the better.
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