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Sunday, 28 August 2011

Sliding down a slippery slope

Earlier in June this year, I wrote an article where I made some analysis about JAMB and the failure of public exams. This was prompted as a result of the fallout from the poor result which painted a grim future of how low our educational system has fallen. The results at the time showed that only 56% of the over one million students who sat for the exam did not manage to achieve the minimum 200 mark that is required to gain admission into Nigerian universities. Fast forward two months later and we have similar problems on our hands with the recent abysmal performance of students in the last May/June 2011 West African Senior School Certificate Examination, (WASSCE). A breakdown of the result showed that only 30 per cent of the candidates making credits in both English and Mathematics. Though an improvment of 5% from last year's record 25%. Details of the result also showed that the results of 81,573 candidates representing 5.29 per cent were withheld. The implications of the results would mean only a few students will have the necessary reuirements to gain admission into universities as most courses require candidates to have a credit in both English and Mathematics. However, we all know many more will gain admission nonetheless and there lies the problem of potentially drop in the quality of students entering universities.

Ok let me not bore you too much with facts and figures but in a country where students' performance in public exams is in freefall then what it shows is a reflection of ineptitude, poor planning and the all too familiar mystic of corruption that pervades our various insitutions. You add that to the failure of effective teaching and learning a consequence of lack of investment in the teaching profession down the years.

Without trying to sound like a doom's day prophet, I do worry for the future of the average Nigerian child and the future of the country itself. The word education is derived from the latin word  ēducātiō meaning (“a breeding, a bringing up, a rearing) but with poor performances like this I do not see any bringing up of the next generation of leaders in various fields of life anytime soon. This no doubt portends great danger for what lies ahead in a world where knowledge is not only power but at the heart of ideas that create wealth.

We need to start making things and turn away from being a consumer nation. But to make that shift we need an educational system that is well resourced, focussed and driven by high standards. When we start making things, that is what leads to industralisation and creates jobs which leads to more productive people and a happier nation. The future is no longer tomorrow, the future is now unless history will be very unkind to us.