BECE: Wrecking foundation of education in Oyo 

BECE: Wrecking foundation of education in Oyo 




July 1 has been scheduled for the commencement of the 2024 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) for JSS three students in Oyo state. The exam is planned to last a week. The examination is significant because it marks the transition of JSS 3 students to senior secondary school. It is thus an important exam that should be taken seriously by all stakeholders especially students. However, reverse is the case. Students are lackadaisical about the exam nowadays, the seriousness expected of them is never evident. The thirst to stay in class is not stimulated neither is commitment to intensive reading a feature. Scholastic drive is stifled.


Many factors are responsible for this but chief is the conduct of BECE which is a measurement test handled by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. Not that the questions are substandard or the actual conduct shoddy but it has been found out that award of scores is shambolic, it never reflects anything near the ability of the students. This is because the ministry for whatever reason has turned Father Christmas with the exam. Scripts are not thoroughly marked, and if done with efficiency, markers have pointed out that they often are issued with stern instructions not to fail the students. “When examiners strive to do justice to the scripts with effective marking, they are blamed and asked to remark to ensure large number of candidates pass,” a teacher, who pleaded anonymity, told


“We are instructed to award marks without recourse to students’ performance. Anyone that does contrarily have the script returned to him to reassess. It is that bad.”


That is why students who missed the exam due to one reason or the other get grades when the result is out, it is further found out.


“We have several cases of students though bonafide students missing the exam but at the end of the day will be awarded results, good grades for that matter,” a school administrator also informed.


“It is a situation like this making students’ level of dedication wane. They know their seniors who didn’t write the exam or who did not stay in class, who were truant, passed with flying colours. That is one of the major problems confronting us in schools,” he added.


Investigations revealed that the reason behind this Father Christmas posture by the ministry of education might not be unconnected with the desire to have a larger number of children acquire O’level certificate. “That is the thinking of government,” a ministry official noted. “If they failed, many of them would drop out of school and government does not want that.”


But if government is averse to mass failure that means it is promoting lackadaisical approach to education. No deterrence barrier is erected against indolence. It has been discovered that the students when they transit to SSS 1 carry over the mindset of non-seriousness believing that is how it will continue. Instilling dedication to their studies become difficult. Truancy now reigns supreme especially in large schools but soon they come face to face with WAEC, NECO, UTME and other exams, and reality dawns. They have had a poor foundation which could not be mended throughout senior secondary school and this now becomes evident when they begin to sit for their final exams. Cheating became an alternative but with the renewed onslaught against examination malpractices in whatever form especially by WAEC, with teachers as scapegoats, last year’s results in the state shows the practice has come home to roost.


A teacher, Mr. Kehinde, further lamented, “Most of these students are now untamable, they leave home but never stay in school. They congregate in different bases or joints perpetrating all manner of social vices – gambling, smoking, doing drug, sex and often engage in fighting with dangerous weapons. It is a malaise beyond the control of schools because we have had cases of teachers being stabbed by these unruly students. It is high time quality was returned to schools starting with award of scores in exams in commensurate way. Unserious ones should be made to repeat and there should be concerted efforts to patrol school environments by security agents or taskforces to combat truancy. Teachers can’t abandon serious students in school and start running after the defiant ones moreover at great risk to their lives.”


A revamping of education should thus start with strict conduct and award of scores for students sitting for BECE. This is not a condemnation of the hardworking ministry officials but a call for reassessment of their strategy and policy. There have to be a balance between education-for-all mantra and quality assurance. Leaning heavily towards the first option erodes quality and is sure invasion of the commitment of the seriousness-inclined students. The options should be weighed seriously.

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