Based on the short period given to schools to prepare their students for the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), stakeholders are jittery, expressing great concern over the likely performance of the students.
They are worried that there results may be the worst ever recorded.
The examination is scheduled to commence on Monday, August 17, 2020. The schools have been shut down for almost four months as Covid-19 pandemic forced the government to take such action as a measure to curtail spread of the virus.
Following the agitation to reopen the schools for the continuation of academic activities, and in order not to waste one academic year by the students, especially the final year senior secondary school students, the federal government directed the schools to allow the SS3 students resume to prepare for their WASSCE.
In Lagos State, the students resumed on Tuesday, August 4, having just 12 days to prepare for their examination.
Stakeholders in education sector have shown concern as they are worried that the short preparation for the examination may lead to mass failure in WASACE this year based on the fact that many students would not be able to cope.
Though the government and some private schools organised online teaching during the lockdown, of was gathered that larger number of the students did not participate in the exercise.
The Education Secretary (ES), Ikeja Local Government Authority (LGEA), Hon. Akeem Amosu had earlier complained that epileptic power supply almost frustrated the online as well as on air teaching organised by the Lagos State Government in some parts of the state, coupled with the inability of many parents to afford Internet powered phones and other gadgets for the children to learn on radio and television.
During the period, the students were not allowed to attend tutorials,l while many parents could not afford hiring teachers for private home lessons for their children.
WASSCE is normally held in May/June every year after the students have been thoroughly taught and completed the syllabus given by WAEC.
Despite adequate preparation and thorough teaching with revision taken towards the commencement of the examination, students have not been recording encouraging performances.
For instance, in 2019, a total of 1,020,519 candidates in Nigeria representing 64.18 percent obtained credits and above in minimum of five (5) subjects including English Language and Mathematics.
In Lagos State, while the public candidates have been improving, the private candidates have been performing abysmally.
In 2018, out of 48,651 private candidates who sat the examination in Lagos State, only 21,614 candidates representing 44.43 per cent obtained credits and above in minimum of five (5) subjects including English Language and Mathematics.
The results in 2018 were better compared to their performance in the previous year. In 2017, just 26.4 per cent (15,545) of the total 58,883 private candidates obtained credits and above in minimum of five (5) subjects including English Language and Mathematic.
However, the performance of the public candidates deteriorated in 2018 compared to what was obtained in the previous year.
In 2017, 101,150 public candidates representing 65.50 per cent out of the total 154,430 candidates who sat the examination obtained credits and above in minimum of five (5) subjects including English Language and Mathematic while in 2018, only 60.72 per cent of the 162,066 public candidates who sat the examination got the same results.
While reacting to the predictable performances of the students in the forthcoming 2020 WASSCE, some of the students, teachers and parents who spoke to DAILY POST expressed fear that the 2020 WASSCE results may be the worst recorded so far, while others are optimistic that the students would do better having been returned to schools for revision.
One of the secondary school teachers in Isolo area of Lagos State, who wants to simply be identified as Mr. Fasiku, said with the efforts of the state government, the students are expected to perform better in the coming external examinations.
He said: “I believe the government is doing its best to ensure a good performance among our students in the forthcoming WASSCE. Our students, as a matter of duty, should reciprocate this by turning out good results.
“Prior to the Covid-19 break, the SS3 final exams, including the other classes were just about a week to commence. Most teachers have already completed their syllabus, and many were on revisions.
“During the 3 to 4 months of Covid-19 break, Lagos State students were not left on their own. There were several online channels made available to them using the media and on the Internet. Some indigent ones were lucky to have received from government tablets and transistor radios.
“Most schools, of which mine, Metropolitan Senior College, Isolo was a pioneer, engaged students of all classes in all subject areas on live teaching through WhatsApp. Students were opportune to interact freely with teachers.
“Just as the Covid-19 has brought out the best in some of us (teachers) by exposing us to various modern E-learning methods. Students are also expected to avail themselves of this new normal in order to achieve success in their examinations.
“Since the reopening of schools, teaching (revision) commenced immediately and attendance in the class is impressive.
“This is not a time to give excuses but, to turn whatever adversity that may have been into success through hardworking and rightful focus. Nothing short of this is expected of them.”
On the other hand, Mrs. Serifat Ashafa, an SS3 Mathematics teacher in one of the public schools in Ikeja said less than 30 percent of her students participated in the online teaching she engaged them.
She added that many of them were not even regular.
She was of the view that the performances of the students in the 2020 WASSCE may not be as encouraging as anticipated. She said the students have not adequately prepared for the examination.
One of the parents whose ward is also writing the examination, Mrs. Titilayo Lawal said: “We want our children to get the examination done with because it has been in the students’ mind since the lockdown and now they have resumed revision classes they should be focused to get it right since that is their major priority for now and we parents should back them up with prayers for them to make it a success.”
The students also talked to DAILY POST on their level of preparation for the forthcoming examinations.
Adeleke Abraham, WAEC student in Central Senior High School, Okota, said: “I’m partially happy by the resumption. I’m happy because the exam is not next year which is like wasting a year. At the same time, I’m sad because I’m not really prepared for the exam since it has been delayed and we were already told its going to be next year. Our teachers are really trying their best to prepare us now though, taking us through five subjects per day. And personally, apart from school preparation, I still have about 2 hours at home reading by myself just to prepare.”
Owoade Gratitude of Gloryland College, Ejigbo, said: “I’m happy that the government made it possible to ensure that we have the exam this year. I thank the body that really fought for it to be possible too. But the issue I’m not that happy about is that the school is still collecting the normal school fees from us not minding the situation in the country.
“I’m not that ready for the examination because the earlier postponement has really made us to relax but I’m preparing for it. Apart from the school revisions, I still engage in self reading to prepare myself.”
Rebekah Ogede of Ejigbo Senior High School said she has also relented in her preparation due to the postponement and only has the 2-week revision to make up for the examination.
Opeyemi Lawal, a science student in Army Children Senior High School, Ikeja said: “I have been preparing for the exams, even during the lockdown, I joined online teaching immediately it started and I believe I will do well in my exams likewise others that have been studying.”
Promise Ulonnya, an Arts student of Oshodi Comprehensive Senior High School stated: “Our teachers are teaching us very well, the revision is a marathon one, we only had one hour break on Thursday. The environment is conducive for learning because all other classes are absent in the compound except us. With high concentration, the exams will be a success.
“I didn’t attend online teachings because I didn’t have a smartphone likewise most of my friends, but I picked up personal reading habit at home while my friend went to our head boy’s house for tutorial. With the look of things, the examination is going to be 50/50 chances as it is not all the students received the online teachings.”
Another student from Ewutuntun Senior Grammar School, Alimat Akinode said: “I did attend the online teaching but not at all time because I used my mum’s phone when she was around but now that revision classes have resumed, we work with a new teaching time table from 9am to 2pm. Our teachers come to the class at all time. With the intensive teachings received with the aid of past questions, we can make more than 60 percent as pass mark rate in the coming examination.”