The Federal Government yesterday said it was dissatisfied with the decline in students' performance in public examinations conducted by the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC), National Examination Council (NECO) and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) despite efforts to check the trend.
Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa'i, who spoke while declaring open the 2012 National Conference on Examinations in Abuja, decried the poor quality of outcome in the country's education system.
Rufa'i stated that a close look at students' results over the years showed that there had been steady decline in the number of candidates, who obtained five credits and above including English Language and Mathematics.
She noted that this was worrisome considering the fact that the subjects were basic entry requirements for transition to higher education in the country.
She added that while 30.9 per cent of candidates obtained the five credits and above in WAEC in 2011, only 8.06 per cent had that in NECO.
Rufa'i, however, explained that there was a marginal improvement in performance in public examination in 2012, with WAEC recording 39 per cent of those that made five credits and above including English and Mathematics over the previous year while NECO had 31.58 per cent as opposed to 8.06 per cent in 2011.
She specifically asked state governments to do more in addressing such problem of poor performance of students, saying: "We all know that states have greater role to play in turning round the massive failure in our examinations, especially when viewed from the fact that basic and secondary education are controlled by the states."
According to statistics made available to journalists at the event, students from the Northern states of the country performed more poorly in public examinations.
For instance, out of a total of 16, 633 that sat for WAEC in 2012, only 251 of them were able to obtain five credits and above, including English and Mathematics.
In Gombe State, only 906 out of 21,233 had five credits and above, Adamawa State, only 1,706 made it out of 32,410 in 2012 WAEC.
The minister explained that the occasion provided an opportunity for extensive exchange of ideas on best approach to enhancing quality of education delivery which would ultimately lead to better performance in public examinations.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to the full implementation of the Housing for All Teachers Scheme (HATS) geared towards ensuring that teachers across the country have access to affordable shelter.
Minister of State for Education, Mr. Ezenwo Wike, who made the disclosure in Abuja, yesterday while receiving the report of Ministerial Committee on HATS, noted that President Goodluck Jonathan remains wholly committed to the welfare of Nigerian teachers.
He directed the legal unit of the ministry to perfect all land titles sent in by respective states to ensure the seamless take-off of the exercise, adding that by January 2013 construction work will commence in states where land allocation issues have been concluded between the Federal Government and such states.
"We are very committed to this project. By January, we would commence work through the developers in all states where land allocation matters have been concluded.
"Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)will be signed between the Federal Ministry of Education, the National Union of Teachers (NUJ) and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) on the delivery of this project. No developer is allowed to source funds from commercial banks. This is to ensure the houses are within the reach of our teachers," he said.
While commending the committee for setting the implementation of the housing for all teachers in motion, he assured teachers that government would always work for their welfare.
Presenting the HATS report to the minister, the chairman of the committee and Director of Procurement, Federal Ministry of Education, Mallam Shehu Aliyu, said some states have made available plots of land for the implementation of the programme.
He recommended the verification and validation of all developers appointed by the past HATS committee using guidelines by the FMBN.
The HATS committee has the representatives of the NUT, Federal Ministry of Education and the FMBN as members.