12 August 2014

West African Examinations Council Results Worsen

Photo: M. Hofer/UNESCO
A student writes on a blackboard (file photo).

Lagos — About 70 percent of candidates who wrote the May/June 2014 West African Examinations Council (WAEC) examinations in Nigeria failed to obtain five credits in English Language and Mathematics, the examination body said yesterday.

WAEC Head of the National Office, Charles Eguridu, said at a news conference in Lagos that 529,425 candidates representing 31.28 percent of the 1,605, 613 candidates whose results were fully processed, were able to obtain five credits including Mathematics and English Language. When the result is compared with that of 2012 and 2013, there appears to be a steady increase in the failure rate.

While 649,156 candidates representing 38.81 percent of the total number who wrote the exams obtained five credits with English Language and Mathematics in 2012, 610,334 candidates representing 36.57 percent passed the examinations in 2013. In order words, 61 percent failed in 2012, about 63 percent failed in 2013 while about 69 percent failed in 2014, he said.

"When you compare the 2014 result with that of 2013 and 2012 results, you will agree with me that there is a marginal increase in the number of failures, especially as it affects the total number that obtained five credits in English Language and Mathematics. However, if we look through the bird's eye view, we cannot totally say that the students performed woefully because when you compare the performance of Nigerian candidates with others in the sub region, especially in Mathematics, we can say it was never a bad performance for Nigerians after all. In order words, Nigeria is better when compared to other English speaking countries within West Africa that wrote the same examinations," Eguridu said.

Former chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the Lagos State University (LASU) Dr Suraj Olunifesi Adekunle said the major factor that could be identified for the rising failure is low quality school curricula, text books, teachers, recruitment exercises and examinations.

According to him, government has also abandoned the education sector because of the emergence of private schools while recruitment of teachers has also been politicised. He also blamed rich parents who fix their children in "special centres" which he said has now lead many students to stop studying for major examinations.

In 2004, out of 1,051,246 candidates who had their results fully processed for the May/June examination, only 191,938 candidates, representing 18.26 percent have five credits including English Language and Mathematics. Half a decade later in 2009, out of 1,373,009 candidates who had their results fully processed, 356,981 candidates representing 25.99 percent who were able to obtain five credits with English Language and Mathematics. In other words, there was a steady improvement between what was obtainable in 2004 and 2009.

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