Ibadan — Before the administration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi came on board, the results of students in the examinations conducted by the West African Examinations Council,WAEC, and National Examination Council,NECO,in Oyo State were disgraceful. In fact, the state was at the lowest rung of the ladder coming 34th out of the 36 states. Some concerned educationists moved to reverse the trend.
One of them, Mr. Muyiwa Bamigbose, developed a programme, tagged, "School on the Air", where seasoned teachers teach subjects on television to enable thousands of students overcome problems they encounter during their final examinations. Within weeks of introducing the programme, it has been widely embraced by students, teachers and proprietors of schools who described the programme as a timely intervention.
The proprietress of Starlite College, Alaro, Ibadan, Mrs. Remi Alade, where the programme was first administered on students, said she saw the possibility of the programme addressing the problems students usually encounter while preparing for their senior school examinations.
She said, "I like anything that would complement learning and be beneficial to my students. Anything that would aid learning, I buy into it. We will soon go beyond using a class for the programme. We would install it in all the classes and integrate it into our time-table. We need more of this not only in science subjects but in other subjects too".
The principal of the school, Mr. Adewuyi Taiwo, said the programme was introduced to help students excel. "And since we installed it, we have seen positive changes in the learning of our students. The programme will surely reduce failure in examinations. It is more effective than what they learn in class", he added.
When asked if this would not lead to retrenchment of teachers, he said, to the contrary, it would complement their efforts.
Miss Idowu Ayomide, a science student, commended the initiative, noting that it would go a long way in reducing failure of students. Another student, Aderibigbe Kudirat, said the programme would help her in passing her final exams. "Anytime, I listen to the School on the Air, I understand better than I do in class. My teachers have been very helpful by coming to my aid whenever I have any difficulty in understanding a topic".
Oniosun Damola, also a science student, saw the programme as an added advantage to them.
According to him, the programme makes them learn by showing different experiments, but noted that it is limited by the inability of students to ask on-the-spot questions.
Despite the limitation of the programme which the initiator, Bamigbose, said would be taken care of, the student said he would not hesitate in recommending it to his colleagues to help them in their examinations. Bamigbose explained that students who have questions would be given the opportunity to get back to tutors on the programme.
Prior to this, he had entered into a partnership with Oyo State government by introducing mock examinations for secondary school students preparatory to their final examinations.
He said it was purely a formative examination which would expose how many students pass or fail and why they failed and, in addition, help to determine serious students.
When the School on Air initiator was speaking with newsmen at a valedictory programme held for the graduating students of the centre, he said, "60,000 pupils are taking the examination in 26 subjects. Government is in the position to determine cut-off points for the subjects.
But, for us, it is a formative assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of pupils in each subject. It is a diagnostic examination. It will help schools address their weak areas. After the assessment, we can point to why the children failed and what the government needs to do to address it. This is why we are into it."