2023 WAEC result: True reflection of state of education in Oyo state

2023 WAEC result: True reflection of state of education in Oyo state


From feelers, the result of students who wrote WASSCE across Oyo state in 2023 is woeful. Many students scored F9 parallel (to use the popular lingo). Though the analysis of the result is yet to be out (as I think) but the body language of the students and stakeholders in the secondary school education indicates the result is nothing to write home about, which is a cause for grave concern. However, this is more pronounced in the public school axis as results posted by private schools’ students are far better. This should therefore call for deep retrospection as the students’ performance reflects a deepening degradation across the educational spectrum in the state as it slides steadily into collapse.

No doubt, education is losing its value and allure and if care is not taken the state will suffer for it in the near future taking into cognizance that many children in the state will not be able to secure admission into higher institutions next academic session leaving questions as to how the ground to be lost will be covered. In my view, the problem is multidimensional – students, teachers, parents/guardians, schools’ neighbours and government factors. Although, it is widely known that these major stakeholders in the education sector constitute the predicament assailing education in the state, it bears worth mentioning again that the worst scenario is already being witnessed due to their action and inaction.


Foundation for poor results – ‘Exam not important’
Findings have shown that the problem is deep rooted. Failure just doesn’t unfold, it is a gradual process. In schools now, the culture of excellence is virtually eroded; students are no more stimulated to seek academic distinction, the prevailing system rather, is academic populism by which students from inception are inculcated with the disincentive notion that academic success can be attained by merely willing or wishing it. They are no more being grilled to appreciate and imbibe the spirit of hardwork and intense sacrifice to nick success. Nowadays, the issue of transition of students from one class to another is handled with levity, it is learnt; the seriousness with which it was handled in the past has seriously waned. Or how do you situate a situation in which students from JSS 1 to SS 3 had no inkling or idea of their academic performance throughout a session? The last academic session that ended August 4 passed away without any student in public secondary school in the state receiving report card. First, second, third term, none of them had a glimpse of their performance, it’s that bad. So, why the crocodile tear!

This anomaly, it is further stated, mostly sits with the state government. In the past, students paid for report cards which school authorities acquired from stationery/books stores on behalf of the students. But in recent times, with the pseudo free education foisted, government appropriated that role declaring it would henceforth see to its provision. First, schools were mandated to purchase the report cards through government but in recent years government took it upon itself to supply the cards free. In the last few years however, the supply happened belatedly such as the cards coming during the third term (implying students did not receive report card in first and second terms). In the last academic session, none got to schools and so schools had none to give to students. A layman is quite aware of the implication of one not being given access to outcome of his/her efforts in any adventure. How will students now know when and in which subject (s) to put in greater efforts? How will parents/guardians determine the ability of their children/wards with a view to evolving efforts to rehabilitate derailing kids? In addition, that prevailing circumstance, instill in students inadvertently, the notion that exams are of little value or just pain in the neck not worth studying towards, after all, the ones they were exposed to internally, they hardly get the results and yet found themselves in the next classes, without having an inkling into the criterion (or criteria) adopted for promotion. Those who failed are either those who are notorious and the authorities want to get rid of or those who change school!

“Most time, we just read names of those who got promotion to the students or paste the list since there are no report cards to be issued,” a teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity informed.

“In the past students dreaded third term especially, they doubled up in their academic input for fear of being asked to repeat a class but nowadays they don’t bother, they know one way or the other they would pass. Many of them don’t even come to school again, they only come during CAs and exams,” the teacher added.

But the students who had been raised unconsciously on the mantra of “exam is not important” and had embraced the concomitant neglect of studying hard for exams suddenly get exposed to external exams and then the chicken comes home to roost. That is why today, you would see WASSCE candidates playing on football fields, engrossed in playfulness till they rush into exam halls and you wonder what are they up to!” Meanwhile, it is pertinent to note that the state governor Engr Seyi Makinde might be unaware report cards are not issued to students thus it’s paramount that the new commissioner for education Professor Salihu Abdulwaheed see urgently to this.

Oyo state commissioner for education Prof Abdulwaheed

Further to this factor contributing to lack of motivation to read for exams especially external ones is the advent of mobile phones. Aside constituting a notorious distraction to pursuit of academic excellence students are now sure of getting not only exam questions but answers to them via their phones even though exam bodies will deny this to high heavens. But the reality is that a day to or morning of exams the questions and answers to them are readily available on certain sites which students gleefully download. Pampered beyond limits, so daft and lazy, and as heinous as this is, instead of mastering the answers or cramming them, they would still seek the easy way out by sneaking their phones into the exam halls to copy the answers directly. This is one of the areas teachers are culpable. Most times, under their nose, this infraction unfolds, compromised by pecuniary inducements, cowed by incendiary threat from students, nonchalant posture or for the repulsive reason of sympathy towards the students.

For some years, this reprehensible act of heightened perpetration of exam malpractice went on without recrimination springing up, and students passed with greater ease. But the ripoff is busted, orchestrated by the harsh sanctions unleashed on some teachers and heads of schools early in the year owing to their being roped in examination heist by both WAEC and the Oyo state government which resulted in demotion of some of the alleged culprits. That instigated a rude awakening in Oyo state as schools spiked their vigilance in stopping malpractice during the last WASSCE. The result is what we have seen. The students believing it’s business as usual approached the exam in the usual neglect of reading and this brought them to their kneels. As indicting and discouraging as this is, it has availed us of the opportunity to assess the true state of education in the state. No witch-hunting is needed, it is a collective failure. Furthermore, how do you account for the good results being allocated to students who did not sit for BECE or students who cannot write their names securing strings of As in BECE? Or ministry of education interfering and interrupting excessively in the management of schools thereby disrupting the flow of things? As an instance, I was told the ministry of education has taken over the conduct of promotion examination for SS 1 and SS 11 students which triggers disruptions. The ministry sets the questions, and directs schools every morning to pick the question papers at a location; questions which most times are inadequate which leave four students to share a question paper as schools are often not disposed to making more copies having paid for the exam and expending transport fare to collect questions. Then, the ministry set the criterion for promotion condemning schools to rigorous process towards fixing the criterion among several criteria. What schools would have concluded before embarking on the long vacation with subsequent distribution of report card to the individual students is now allowed to spill into the holiday period with school authorities running helter-skelter to meet up with the various directives regarding the promotion exercise. This is as demoralizing as it breeds cutting of corners inevitably. Why must the ministry conduct examination (set questions and determine criterion for promotion) for schools but using teachers of the same school to mark the scripts of their students? Aside non-supply of report cards, this is another reason for non-distribution of report cards to students even if these are available, and so, the system of appropriating the promotion exercise (now adopted by the ministry) is counter-productive. It is like passing vote-of-no-confidence on schools’ heads – possibly this breeds ill-will, (silent) animosity and triggers acts of sabotage. It is believed teachers on the field are more professional and are better suited for such things than office educators. And as they say, it is the grass, this time students, that bear the salvage brunt!


There is also the issue of festering indiscipline among students in schools. The laxity in this aspect is enormous and apparent. Students now are above the law so to say. Teachers are becoming increasingly weak in meting out disciplinary actions against erring students. This culture of indifference is becoming pervasive. A teacher who also did not want her name in print submitted when probed on the question, “We have to be careful. If you beat a student severely, the parents may storm the school with thugs in reprisal attack, smashing the teachers verbally or physically. And in such situation you receive no protection from the state, rather, if the government knows, the teacher is blamed, that is when they hurriedly come up with a circular harping on ban on physical beating of students and so you are reprimanded especially if the student is connected with politicians or those higher ups.

“At another time however, when students of one school fight with their counterparts in another school, oftentimes, the teacher is again blamed for not being able to control his students. The teacher is always made the scapegoat, cast as the culprit. And when we invite security agents at the budding stage of fracas most times they do not come citing ‘no fuel in their vehicles’ as reason. And when the pandemonium escalates the teacher is blamed as if he is security agent. Head or tail the teacher is the fall guy. That is why we teachers always say ‘Nobody likes us, the parents hate us, the government officials are not our friends and even the students are hostile.’ We thank the governor for fulfilling his promise of regular and prompt payment of salaries that is the only saving grace or else I will say there is much grudges nursed towards teachers.”

To buttress the implied society aversion to sanctioning of erring students, a look at the circumstances of the death of a vigilante operative, Rotimi Adigun, a.k.a. Bintin in May this year, will suffice. First of WAI Brigade and later of Nigeria Hunters and Forestry Security Services (NHFSS), Bintin was fervent in “Operation keep students in school.” He was the ready tool for the job with principals quick to call him to help curtail truant and heady students; he was so effective that students throughout the length and breadth of Ogbomoso metropolis shuddered at the mention of his name. Ultimately, he was met with mishap when he pursued a student into a river with both of them drowning. The second day when his corpse was recovered from the river, not sympathy but anger was unleashed on his corpse with many in the surging crowd consisting of students, ex-students and parents exclaiming in jubilation that he was dead, exemplified by such disdainful words as “A ku tun ku e,” “Olosi” and making strenuous attempts to hijack his corpse from the police. Such emotional outburst against the body of someone perceived as helping in beating wayward students into line was upsetting to teachers in no small way bearing it in mind there were also alleged attempts to “crucify” the principal (s) who allegedly invited him (Bintin) – so, the refrain now is “na you sabi!”

This by no means is to absolve teachers of guilt too. Many of them are archaic in modern trends in the sector. They are in a learned profession but this rarely reflects, and so, there is need for many of them to upgrade, improve and imbibe the modern trend in knowledge impartation. Then, there is need for greater devotion and commitment on their part, brush up and be broader in outlook. They are the pivot of education at that level thus it is instructive they be up and and doing.

The reasons for the shocking slide in the standard of education in the state can by no means be exhausted. What about the uninspiring status of graduates of higher institutions who roam the streets with no jobs or hope of jobs which is making many turning into okada/tricycling/minibus (korope) operators for survival which insipidly deadens hunger for education among the upcoming ones; also, many students are taking to yahoo-yahoo and to many other alternatives that kill the stimuli for education; in addition, all forms of immoralities have exploded among the students with parents/guardians not caring a hoot; parents and guardians now ignore proper upbringing, children are now left in the care of (single) grandparents who allow students a great deal of latitude which is deleterious to education. Furthermore, residents in neighbouring communities where schools are located do not help matters too, they are complicit as they insouciantly harbour students who loiter around throwing tantrums at and deprecating teachers who dare to go out to curb the menace. Many things are wrong, the factors are multifarous. Education has nosedived a great deal that it is not seen again as the gateway to unlocking opportunities in a country where forgers of universities’ certificates assume great leadership positions which fling them into the ocean of stupendous but illicit wealth where they swim irreverently.

Way out – One is adoption of private school model
Students in private schools generally return good grades than their counterparts in public schools. In WAEC, NECO and UTME they post better results, only once in a while do we find exceptionally brilliant students from public schools nowadays. Discipline is the first thing that makes private schools have an edge. In private schools, parents don’t indiscriminately bump on schools to challenge punishment against their children. In public schools this is a common episode. Then, emphasis is laid on academic performance, here, proprietors don’t play to the gallery, they are focused on result not applause. Everything is in-house, the ministry doesn’t exceed its statutory function of supervision, no undue interference and interruptions leading to disruptions just as correct work value system is imbibed by staff.

Aside these, there is need for massive infrastructural provisions in public schools as well as other facilities in the face of realization that many schools suffer in these aspects and are in dire need of them. Teachers are similarly inadequate, several retire in a year but recruitment takes place far apart.

Finally, if the financial capability of the state does not support free education any longer, why messing and muddling up everything and jeopardizing students’ future instead of backtracking and allowing token as school fees which will have the additional benefit of inculcating some sanity and feeling of education worth into students and their parents. This will be for the better.

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