The West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC) has announced the release of the May/June 2012 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and once again massive failure has been recorded. Only 38.31% of 1,695,878million candidates that sat for the exams obtained five credits in English Language, Mathematics and three other subjects; the requirements for admission into universities and polytechnics. This is an indication once again, of the falling standards in our country’s education which has not been well addressed by the appropriate bodies.

Since the rate of failure in WAEC and NECO examinations became alarming in the past few years, decision makers in Nigeria’s educational sector, politicians, and parents at large have decided to place the blame of students’ failure in examinations on the teachers. Teachers have been berated in so many ways and have been turned into objects of ridicule by many who are of the opinion that most teachers can’t even pass the examinations they give out to students, and are made to write exams after exams before getting their deserved promotion. Students could have lost respect for their teachers as a result of the wagging tongues of their parents passing disrespectful comments to teachers. How possible is it for you to understand what you are being taught by someone you don’t respect?

With the level of intelligence of the generation of kids we have now, one would expect a better academic performance than what we have now. As much as I am not absolving teachers of any blame, I’d say there is little they can do if other necessary things are not put in place. Parents have a duty to their kids to ensure they are well educated, and education is not all about what the teacher says in school, it has to continue at home. Most parents are wrapped up in a world of their own, making their career a priority over their kids. I remember how much of Mathematics my dad taught me, and how many knocks I received in the process. Kids may need to be slapped or knocked into learning some things, but parents hardly do that these days. Today’s parenting has really affected students’ ability as evidenced in their examination performance. The length some parents go to ensure their wards pass examinations is also very disheartening. My parents never lobbied for my examination success or admission anywhere, and any certificate I have today is the result of my efforts and no one else’s.

The Cowbell Mathematics competition seemed to be the only known thriving schools’ competition. There are no longer competitions in schools. Little did we know that having something to fight for encourages hardwork. Many schools don’t even put position in class on students’ report sheets anymore. When students don’t have anything to fight for apart from external exams like WAEC and NECO exams(because there are hardly cases of class repetition due to failure), they only prepare for those, and it’s always too late.

It’s high time parents started doing what’s right for their kids’ future. What are your kids doing up at 12 midnight watching TV? Why are you too busy to check your kid’s notebooks after work? Are your weekends also too busy with unnecessary engagements that you can’t go over the week’s work with your kids? Remember how your parents tutored you while you were your kid’s age. Why aren’t you being that kind of parent to your kid too?

We have a government that is finding it hard to implement budgets so it’d even be a waste of timing sulking about the allocation to education. While we see out these dark times of governance, do we allow our education to rot? Corporate bodies and wealthy individuals can arise and keep our students busy with enough subjects competition, essay competitions, sports competitions, all filled with benefits of scholarships and educational materials. Let’s fill our students’ lives with more value by making them view education in a new perspective. Believe me when I say education bores kids of nowadays. They are in school because everyone else is. Let’s make school fun as there will be an activity for everyone. Those countries with enviable educational pedigree have schools full of activities. This is one important thing we are missing. Those activities are what shape kids into what they are meant to be. Let’s bring back the JET club, Literary and Debating Society, and the rest of them.

Maybe someday soon, parents would show how interested they are in their children’s future by coming together to discuss the way forward. It will be a shame if our country filled with intellectuals continue producing students who amass failure in exams. Let’s fight mediocrity in every way we can.

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