MAKING A QUICK MOVE AGAINST ANOTHER MASS FAILURE
The alarming rates at which students fail in WAEC, NECO and JAMB-conducted examinations have been blamed on several factors. As usual, the government is always under criticism for its neglect of the pivotal education sector due to the annual abysmally-low budgetary allocation to that sector. Although, majority of us are always quick to castigate the government on national issues such as this, only few critics consider the major players in the middle of the whole drama, that is, the students; as they always almost go unblamed. Though, I do not exonerate the government for its lackadaisical attitude towards the moribund educational system, I do not in anyway
too belong to the school of thought that blames the rulers for an individual's failure in personal issues such as passing an external exam.
It cannot be over-emphasized that a good academic performance can be tied to an enabling learning environment. However, we have failed to realise that even a 90% budgetary allocation to the education sector may not be the ultimate panacea for students' woeful performances in national exams, which without doubt, has reached an endemic stage. It is needless to bore you with the disheartening statistics of how students 'refuse to pass' on yearly basis as this sad news has already been publicised by the various mass media. What is of interest is the way out of this quagmire.
One of the major factors that lead to students' recurring failure in external exams is the sharp decline in the reading culture of the average Nigerian student. A cursory look at the dailies attests to this as educationists decry the gradual replacement of reading with other trivial and unprofitable engagements that now steal the show.
In addition too, gainful study hours are now spent on social networks as students prefer to 'twitt' and 'facebook' rather than 'face' their books. They are however always quick to claim that they are surfing the internet in a bid to gather online materials needed to complete their assignments. They also prefer juicy magazines and publications that feature pictures of celebrities and high-profile events to perusing the masterly works of newspapers and magazines' columnists that will not only build their vocabulary banks but will also improve their communication skills too. It is observed too that free mid-night telephone conversations, excessive video game-playing, distracting relationships, inordinate affections for fashion, lack of desire to excel, blurred personal vision, poor parenting and a host of other factors team up to work against the today's students.
As much as we remain optimistic of a change in this despicable trend, we should not expect an overnight turnaround, except the students personally become dissatisfied with the status quo. No good results will be forthcoming except they make a conscious decision to oust the monster called failure. Students need to manage their time properly, knowing fully well that it is a wasting asset that is irreplaceable once used up.
More importantly, there is an urgent need to revamp the dying reading culture. Greater time and resources should be devoted to intensive and extensive study. To be candid though, a serious study is a pyschologically-demanding and herculean task, students must therefore approach it with great strength, determination, and focus. Students should focus on the exams rather the examiners (for the average student sees the examiner as an arch-enemy of academic progress). Except the closed books in the bags and those displayed on the library shelves are re-opened, no tangible change from the current trend should be expected.
In conclusion, though it is arguable in some quaters, I maintain that there is no greater force working against the success of a student in any exam than the student himself. And as long as students, the government and all other stakeholders fail to appreciate the true purpose of formal education, its abuse will remain inevitable. With the next secondary school leaving and higher institution entrance exams in the offing, the ball is still in our courts. The right things could still be put in their right places.