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Stakeholders Blame Poor Exam Performance of Nigerian Students on Poor Teaching, Indifferent Parents, Technological “Distractions” etc.




??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Abuja (NAN) – Stakeholders in education have blamed the poor performance of Nigerian students in public examinations on poor teacher quality, poor reading habits, parents’ lack of interest, and the emergence of Information Communication Technology (ICT).

The stakeholders expressed their views in a survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) across the country.

The May/June result of the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination shows that less than 32 per cent of candidates obtained credit passes in five subjects, including English Language and Mathematics.

The result shows that of the 1,692,435 candidates, 529,425 obtained credits in five subjects, including English Language and Mathematics, to qualify to study at the tertiary level of education.

In Lagos, Charles Eguridu, Head, National Office (HNO) WAEC, said there was a marginal decline in the performance of candidates when compared with the 2012 and 2013 results.

Eguridu attributed the poor results to the lack of interest by parents in the academic performance of their children and wards.

“A lot of parents these days do not live up to their responsibilities when it comes to the academic welfare and progress of their children.

“They are busy chasing after money all day while their children spend most of their time going after irrelevances.

“We must understand that we, as parents, cannot abdicate our responsibilities to teachers and expect them to excel if we do not do our bit.

“The only thing that makes one exceptional is learning to do that which others cannot do,” he said.

Eguridu advised parents to live up to their responsibilities by properly guiding and monitoring their children to ensure focus on their studies.

A former Minister of Education, Chinwe Obaji, told NAN that the situation today was getting worse, compared to the situation in the past.

She said there were too many distractions, especially with the craze for western lifestyle and the influx of Information Communication Technology (ICT).

Obaji said many students attended school with their telephones and while in class got busy with irrelevant activities.

Obaji said that government must also review the idea of allowing every child to progress to a new class irrespective of his performance at the end of the session.

She said that automatic promotion for students was wrong, encouraged laziness among students and led to the mass failure in public examinations.

“When the students discover that they promote en-masse, they no longer take their studies seriously; and then, we continue to promote misfits to the next class.

“And at the terminal stages, we then witness mass failure.

“We must also try and discourage admitting students who are still awaiting their results into institutions of higher learning.

“Let us also look at how we can stop candidates from writing JAMB without first obtaining their West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results.

“I think with this policy in place, the students will show more seriousness in their education,” the former minister said.

Obaji advocated a sound education system to ensure the success of  Education For All EFA by 2015.

She said it was only when this was achieved that products of the system would be able to impact meaningfully at the basic level.

Rufus Famuwagun, the South-West Zonal Coordinator, National Association of Parents and Teachers of Federal Unity Colleges, said there was a need for constant training and re-training of teachers.

He noted that there had been instances where some teachers could not  pass examinations meant for students.

Famuwagun  said it was not possible for students to excel if teachers, who were critical stakeholders in human capital development, were ill-equipped.

“We must strive to continually keep our teachers well-informed and trained as they can only give what they have.

“We must also review our teaching methodology which has become obsolete.

“If we go to schools around the country, we will discover that most of the teachers are not trained on the current trend when it comes to teaching, especially the core subjects.

“Most of these teachers are not even professionals in the subjects they tend to be teaching, especially when it comes to moving from the simple to complex teaching methodology.

“Parents on their own part, too, must join hands with the teachers in redirecting the course of their children through proper mentoring.

“As parents, they have a critical role to play in the academic welfare of their children and wards,” he said.               .

Famuwagun also urged government to adequately fund the education sector and check unnecessary interruption of the school calendar through strikes and public holidays.

Moses Salau of the Nigeria Education Research and Development Council (NERDC)  said teachers’ lacked dedication to curriculum implementation.

Salau, Head, NERDC South-West Zone, said the assessment skill of schools was very faulty and did not conform to the assessment skill of the public examination bodies.

He said students did not study well but engaged in activities on the  Internet which added no value to their academic work.

The official also blamed the poor performance on the get-rich-quick syndrome, saying students were no longer ready to face the rigours of academic work but preferred to take the shortcut.

Salau said the value system in Nigeria had broken down; students did not see people who excelled in academics as role models.

“The society and the mass media do not celebrate students who excel in academics but promote entertainment, sports and music.

“Some parents are not investing in the education of their children; they prefer buying clothes, shoes and make-ups.

“Until the state governments and the ministries of education recruit qualified and committed teachers to handle these curricula, the massive failure of students in public examinations will continue.

“Until teachers sit down and assess themselves, the problem will  persist.

“Do teachers complete the curriculum?

“Do the teachers saddled with the teaching know more than their students? Until these issues are addressed, the massive failure of students in WAEC and NECO examinations will continue,’’ Salau said.

He urged the governments to recruit competent teachers to address the consistent poor results in public examinations.

He advocated compulsory capacity building and retraining of teachers and principals by the government.

“Parents should rise up to their responsibility; they should complement what the school is doing.

“When a child comes home, parents should check what the child did in school for the day.

“With this kind of supervision, the child will read to impress his or her parent.

“The tone of the school should be brought back; students dress indecently to school without anybody checking them.

“The validity of examination should be in line year in year out. WAEC examiners and markers should be well-remunerated.

“Most private schools engage in examination malpractice but they project fake results to the public, deceiving themselves and the society that their students are the best.

“The problem is endemic, we need to go back to the drawing board; students should become bookworms before they can excel,’’ Salau said.

Segun Raheem, the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Lagos State, said there had been improvements in physical infrastructure in schools, especially secondary schools.

He, however, said there was inadequate manpower for schools in the state.

Raheem said there were 42,000 teachers were in the state, comprising 16,000 primary school teachers and 27,000 secondary school teachers.

He stressed the need for a review of the entry point for teaching  by  employers, saying: “At times, graduates who are non-professionals are employed.

“We have a handful of them in the system; some of them have gone for further studies to qualify to teach.

“More than 90 per cent of teachers in Lagos State Public Secondary Schools are registered by the Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria,’’ Raheem said.

He said the Lagos State Government usually organised training, workshops and seminars for teachers to enhance their skills.

The chairman said the policy was for one teacher to handle 40 students but that was not the case in state schools.

Rahem said that students in public schools in the state competed favourably with their counterparts in well organised private schools.

“Results and outcomes of so many competitions and examination have proved it,” he said.

Raheem noted that extra-curricular activities were an integral part of the education process and should not be underestimated.

“In Lagos State Schools, I would say that they are adequate but government should do more in the area of logistics and supply.

In Jos,  some people blamed poor students’ performance on the lack of qualified teachers.

The NUT Chairman in Plateau, Gunshin Yarlings, said few qualified teachers in the state were not properly motivated to work.

He said that the Plateau Government had not promoted any teacher since 2008, owed them allowances and delayed the payment of salaries.

Yarlings said that in spite of the situation, teachers in the state were  diligent in discharging their duties and had excelled in national evaluation of teachers.

He said a teacher in Jos North Local Government Area emerged the best in Junior Secondary School cadre in 2012, while a teacher in Mangu Local Government Area was overall best in 2010.

The PTA Chairman, Plateau chapter, Sylvester Yakubu, said more than 80 per cent of teachers in public schools were employed by the association.

He alleged that since 2011 vacancies created by retired teachers and teachers who had died were not replaced by the government.

Yakubu said the association had helped in building laboratories in eight communities spread across Barkin Ladi, Pankshin, Kuru, Jengre, Garkawa, Kurgwi and Langtang North local government areas.

He said the association had also supported government in erecting structures and facilities to create favourable environments  for learning. .

He called on the government to employ more teachers and establish a vibrant education board which would involve all stakeholders in efforts to  improve the performance of students.

The Plateau Commissioner for Education, Athanasius Dashen, said there were 99,000 students in public secondary schools in the state and 3,000 teachers.

He said more than 300 public secondary schools and 500 private secondary schools in the state were supervised by a committee coordinated by the Quality Assurance Department of the ministry.

Dashen said that the department monitored schools to ensure the maintenance of standards.

He said the state had teachers’ colleges in Gindiri and a Federal Teachers’ College in Pankshin.

Dashen said, however, that over the years the facilities had been over- stretched with more students and no corresponding increase in amenities.

He advised  parents to take their wards to schools with capacity to develop them.

Dashen said the lack of consistency in government had also adversely affected the education sector.

He said the government inherited a dilapidated education sector and would take a longer period for an overall turnaround of the system.

The commissioner said the government trained teachers through  intervention programmes by Universal Basic Education Commission  with counterpart funding from the state government.

He said government also organised workshops, especially for science teachers.

In Birnin Kebbi, The Chairman of Birnin Kebbi zone of NUT, Malam Zaki Sarki, said at the primary and Junior Secondary School level there were 5,000 unqualified teachers.

He said 2,000 among the lot were those with Senior School Certificate, Grade II Teacher’s Certificates and other lower qualifications.

Sarki said the remaining were holders of OND, HND and university degrees without training in education.

He noted the National Certificate of Education NCE, was the minimum teaching qualification in the country.

Alhaji Haruna Aliero, the state SUBEB Chairman, said the board had  intensified efforts in regular school inspection to ensure full implementation of the education curriculum.

Aliero said “we organise workshops and training for our teachers on regular basis.’’

He said teachers’  salaries were  paid regularly while promotions  were regular.

Aliero said many teachers had been released for training.

He said 4,000 unqualified  teachers were undergoing NCE, PGDE and advanced diploma programmes in education at the National Teachers Institute. .

Hajiya Ana Fakai, the state Coordinator of Schools Basic Management Committee, said her team regularly inspected schools.

Alhaji Aminu Birnin Kebbi, the state Chairman of All Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools, said the association was worried about the poor performance of students.

However, the Commissioner for Education in Kebbi, Alhaji Samaila Kamba  and his staff refused to answer questions on the issue.

The officials told NAN that “most of your questions touch on our confidentiality and we will not attend to you.’’

NAN, however, learnt that WAEC had yet to release the WASSE results of 5,000 indigent students from Kebbi because of the failure of the state government to pay their registration fees.

Photo Credit: Michael Jung/


  1. chy

    September 7, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Load of crap. Until the government set better standards for both instructors and students, the school system will continue to fell. Until the cheap government stop using Youth corpers as teachers and instructors, the students will continue to fail. I believe 80% of the youth corpers don’t know anything about teaching or care for it.

  2. @edDREAMZ

    September 7, 2014 at 9:56 am

    The only person that is to be blamed is the student…. So all this one they are saying is just tory nothing more..

  3. me2me

    September 7, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Going by the headline, I totally agree. Most of our teachers in school don’t really know how to work with children, hence can’t impact knowledge or don’t even have anything to impact..

    As for parents, most of us don’t care about our children’s day to day educational growth. We too busy with how we want to look tomorrow and what new bag, hair or car to buy. We forget that as little as cooking, cleaning, washing the car, playing games or watching home movies with our kids daily can create a huge impact in their maths, english and social skills. Instead we leave it to the Nanny. What exactly do we expect the result to be?

    Lastly, technology. All them gadgets puleeez no kid will die without them. I strongly believe that parents give them these things in place of parental time.. If you are not ready to raise a kid, you better don’t have one. You see a 4 year old with a Samsung S5 and you wondering….The parent says o its for calling us when we are not at home? Don’t forget he also has an iPad, PsP etc. Now why cant that kid call you with a 3k phone? Or is your phone allergic to phone calls from those kind of phones? How about you get a land line? visafone and multi choice still sell them. How about you take away the gadgets and bring in educational toys? Trust me whatever puzzle he does with the iPad he can’t do in real life. If you think I’m lying buy one

    So yeah I agree that most teachers and parents especially are not doing a good job.

    • From Cambridgeshire

      September 8, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      @me2me – Spot on! I totally agree with you. We don’t have to let other people/the society dictate how to raise our kids. The kids will tell you they want the latest gadgets because their friends have it, even grown-ups will brag about the latest gadgets they bought for their kids. I was raised differently,you don’t have to have/do everything your friends have/do!

      In my house the kids know Wii, PSP, tablets etc are on weekends only. Monday through Thursday, they come back from school, eat, watch a bit of t.v to relax and then study for 1 to 2 hours. The fun starts Friday night, lol! Even on holidays they still do school work at least twice a week.

      Very sad to read this cos this was not the naija I grew up in back in the good old 80s and 90s:( But even in the UK and US, Nigerians have become very materialistic and competitive in terms of material things. As soon, as one person buys a new car, then you see other couples start buying new cars. I heard one lady say “Mary them just bought a car, in Jesus’ name before the end of 2013 we too must buy a new car” lol! – this was in the UK. Another friend of mine (based in the states) gave me gist about naijas competing in terms of house sizes, lol!

      Please lets stay focused on the important things in life like God, family, establishing good relationships with friends, our careers etc. Most of these material things depreciate in value, but investing time (sometimes achieved by working less hours) in your kids is one of the best investments for the future..

  4. Wale

    September 7, 2014 at 10:49 am

    The system is completely broken. It is a shame these are future Nigerians with sub standard education. I think quality education in that country ended with the set(class) or two right after my set in Nigeria. Then the system became broken. Thank God they have a few good private schools carrying the weight and helping to save face for the Nation.

  5. Meh

    September 7, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I know this won’t be one of the more hot button topics on BN this week but it breaks my heart once again to see that he systems failure in public services in this country is again blamed on things we already know are problems. A committee will be set up to investigate, and will anything change? NO. These are not politicians kids getting these abysmal scores, so why the drama…. This didn’t happen overnight. Yes the teachers are demoralized (poor training, poor incentiization), the kids have extremely poor foundations in reading, writing and arithmetic. The infrastructure is non existent, poverty is a factor. I am just a youth corper, we have seen these ills. Who is accountable? Please leave the parents out of this…. All Nigerian parents like to see their kids excel, it gives a sense of pride. Sigh, I am just tired.

  6. Tosin

    September 7, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Upsetting, but we can change. We can care more about the youngsters, community, and education.


    September 7, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    its time we go back to flogging children with bad grades!

  8. navida

    September 8, 2014 at 1:38 am

    Nigerian Government is very stupid for blaming students’ poor performance in WAEC on technology and the rest. Who doesn’t know how the Nigerian exams are conducted. WAEC, NECO and all other federal and state conducted exams are the worst and last things any Nigerian student should be graded upon. Are they serious? Paying examiners or they’ll tear your paper or mark you down then make sure your paper never gets to its destination. They shouldn’t even pretend like they don’t know what their so called examiners and military officers do in those halls. NAN my ass.

  9. Glowing

    September 8, 2014 at 9:19 am

    It is not Crap really…Positive Values should be instilled in Children that they would remember for life… PRIMARY SCHOOL MEMORIES…a bit of life lessons.
    Parents, take out time to discipline as well as instill morals in your kids and monitor their performance. Children these days grow fast! At the End of the day, the Money you work for if your kids end up wayward will go to a Servant worthy of it…Take Heed!

  10. TheBThing

    September 8, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Hopefully the ‘WEST’ can stop stealing Africa’s professionals.

  11. Observer

    September 8, 2014 at 10:20 am

    The problem with Nigeria is we’ve over placed emphasis on education such that its become a do or die affair.its a situation of go to school or you can never attain anything.
    So yes,Children are implanted with this mentality from birth,so,no real talent of the child is discovered ,you start primary school with subjects you barely understand with zero passion towards and you”re labelled a dullard,In secondary school,you learn the art of “skillful cramming. With “WAEC and NECO, Its a different ball game entirely.Not everyone can go to conventional schools…..please lets develop our technical/vocational schools and stop this embarrassing mass failure and trades of blame.
    Technology is here to stay and the effect will be worse in years to come.
    The economy is hard so parents have to overwork to fund children”s overpriced education,
    Most teachers chose teaching as their last resort..they even have buying and selling as a second option.
    It should be more about getting educated/learning and being able to put what you learn to good use than Passing Exams.

  12. Mystique

    September 8, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Nigerian government is partly to blame but i also think students nowadays are distracted by a whole lot…….they lack discipline and hate to study. Adults show them money can be made through various means and education is not a big deal. God help us to set good examples for our children.

  13. Concerned_Boyfriend

    September 8, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    It’s funny how you all blame the government and the parents and fail to emphasize the systemic problem of corruption and how it has decimated our educational system. Until we serious about rooting out corruption at every facet of the government, this will FOREVER be our story. The educational practitioners at the helm of administration and the students alike are all product of “Orijo” a.k.a “expo”. What do you expect when the teachers barely made it through high school ?.

  14. NNENNE

    September 8, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    I take everything but indifferent parents. Our values are still intact. Which Nigerian parent doesn’t want the best for their children?
    When our educational system was top notch, it was still the same type of parents that we had.
    Blame it on the TEACHERS, government/infrastructure, students and societal distractions.
    If I can be hired for a job that I do not qualify for, why should I kill myself to study? Are we hiring the best teachers? How dedicated are they? Are they sure of their salaries?
    Is someone monitoring them to make sure they deliver or are they running their businesses side by side with the job and let the school work suffer? Do they go for continuous education and fine tune themselves from time to time? Do they prepare for classes ahead of time?
    These are the kinds of questions we need to ask.

  15. Studenthubplus

    September 8, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Let us stop playing the game.Most of the problems stated above have been solved.

  16. Teacher

    April 9, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    ….. Shame… it is so very easy to blame teachers for being incapable and unprofessional….. Teaching is a special calling that requires skills that cannot completely be learned via training alone; the most critical among skills needed in teaching are innate. Thus, having passed through a College of Education or having degrees in education does not automatically make a good teacher. Having been a teacher for many years, I have come across colleagues with more academic qualifications but with less skills in imparting knowledge (judging from students’ opinions and evaluators’ findings).

    In Nigeria however, having educational degrees appears to be the criteria; those with N.C.E or B.Sc (Ed) are assumed to be the ideal persons to teach. A major flaw in the assumption is that many holders of such degrees do not even have any interest or passion for teaching!, they probably studied the course just to have a degree after unsuccessful attempts at studying the course they actually desired (this is the case for many Nigerian B.Ed graduates). Very few Nigerian graduates today went to the University with the hope of becoming a teacher someday (especially as the sector remains very economically unrewarding in Nigeria). Meanwhile, teaching requires a level of passion for imparting knowledge on others; hence can only be done properly when the passion is there.

    Today, most secondary school students are dull and worse still, unwilling to settle down to learn what they are supposed to. Why? they are product of the Nigerian society where : the culture of being close minded thrives, kids are over-indulged to compensate for the lacking proper attention (due to parents’ being busy), everyone is trained to expect praises and not criticism or discipline, almost every mind is conditioned to believe that every rule can be broken or bent, almost every aspect of rights and or privilege has been thoroughly abused etc.

    A good example (this happens everyday in Nigeria) – banker receiving personal phone call while customers were moaning on queue right in front of the banker; on pointing out the misdemeanor, the banker either attacks whoever pointed out the error (i.e. how is my call answering your business?, why don’t you mind your affair?) or puts up daft defense similar to what teachers get in classes “am I not entitled to a personal life because I have customers to attend to?”…. and the manager would not be able to do anything .. why? he is aware that the bank : is not adequately paying the staff including himself (hence staff misbehavior is expected), regulations guiding staff conduct are often bent or not always enforced by the bosses…. here the parents are likened the bosses and the erring bank staff is likened to the student.

    Truly, the quality of teachers found in Nigerian high schools today is questionable, but the same cannot be said of teachers in the good old days which predates the present culture of corruption. Probably somewhere along the line, pressures from the factors outlined in the third paragraph of this write-up increased drastically to the extent that even erstwhile brilliant students got caught up. Thus, an onset of the wave of production of half baked teachers; it is very easy to figure out the role parents played in the process.

    To have a real understanding of this, any interested party could go on and volunteer as a support worker in a private or public school in Nigeria. Through the process of interaction with today’s students and or teachers in the school environment, the interested party would definitely arrive at a conclusion that might even be a huge surprise.

    I was a truant from SS 1 to SS 3 in my high school in Nigeria; but at home, my parents, siblings were always there to challenge me if I could not answer simple stuffs in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English Language Or Mathematics….. I had nobody to challenge my parents or my siblings. … Unlike today’s students whose parents complain on behalf of them.. i.e. “Excuse me sir, Junior’s assignments are too hard”.. My WAEC result was still one of the best in my school then and I made merit admission list…. all from efforts of personal study driven by my parents and siblings.

    Let today’s Nigerian parents get their acts together, let the older generations (65-70yrs old) give advice based on how they were educated (in those days)….. and let us kick out corruption in our lives….. WAEC results will improve…… Many fortysomething year olds in Nigeria can still make a credit in WAEC physics with two months’ study… Many reasons are responsible for addition to the fact that WAEC syllabus is even a lot easier than it used to be… yet the moaning today remains unmatched.

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