by Adeniyi Abdul
Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has criticised the Nigerian educational system, decrying the “ineffective” regulatory structure and constant mass failures recorded during examinations.
Speaking in Lagos at the 2012 Isaac Moghalu Foundation Leadership Lecture tagged: “Education and Development: Paradigm Shift,” she criticised the existence of two examinations bodies ( West Africa Examination Council, WAEC and the National Examination Council, NECO ) conducting the same type of examinations for Senior School Certificate.
“The regulatory system in the sector is largely ineffective, and this reflects on the curriculum, especially in many private schools of foreign origin. Pupils in many of these schools are taught little or nothing in Nigeria,” she said.
“Take also the duplication we see in the administration of Senior School Certificate Examination. Why should there be two parallel examination bodies – the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) and the National Examination Council (NECO) – conducting the same type of examinations for the same level of students within same academic session, making it difficult to maintain standards at the same level? Surely, there is need for a rethink here.”
“The quality of education and associated learning outcomes are poor.”
She continued. “We see mass failures in SSCE conducted by WAEC and NECO year in year out. For instance, only 5.75 per cent of the 803,360 private candidates that sat the WASSCE exams in May/June 2010 received five credits and above.”
“Several universities are producing graduates that lack the right skills needed to perform tasks required in their chosen fields, making it difficult for them to get employment. If you look hard enough, you may even find graduates who have never used a computer before. Academic infrastructure in many of our premier institutions is dilapidated. Nigerian universities are no longer the citadels of learning we once knew them to be.”
“They have lost their place in global rankings,” she said. “Now in fact, Nigerian parents are sending their children to other African countries like Ghana and South Africa to study, spending hundreds of millions of dollars in tuition fees alone, not talk of those that send their wards to the United States or the United Kingdom, at significant costs. Imagine the benefits of investing these in our own university system.”