Grappling with Another Inconclusive Policy on Education by Oke Babawale Simon

The word ‘inconclusive’ has become a cliché in Nigeria and it seems not to command any meaning again. Nevertheless, it has become the motto through which the present dispensation governs the nation. The adjective was first used by Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and since then, it seems the self-acclaimed prophet has been right on its usage. Fisayo Soyombo in his article on the extended vacation of the Head of the Administration also noted that it was inconclusive a

nd till date, nothing is known about the true state of the President’s health, save for the privileged Nigerians who are above the real Nigerians.

Just as when it seems people’s attention is being taken away from the relocation of the country’s capital due to the sudden and magical appreciation of the nation’s currency, another ill-policy came from the Joint Admissions and Matricu

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lation Board (JAMB). The problem with this country is, while trying to solve a problem, we end up creating more woes for ourselves; we mortgage the future just in a bid to salvage the distorted past, a major reason the country will continue to speedily move backward.

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has its peculiar ways of creating problems for the nation’s educational sector yearly, a problem some stakeholders in the sector attribute to not having round pegs in round holes. A year came with restrictions on the choices of institutions to be selected by candidates, another came with students being forcefully transferred to private universities after the children of the rich had pushed them out of selection in public institutions. Also, the problem of internet connections and having enough questions that would equally test the intelligence of students came with the controversial innovation of Computer-based tests, and mind you, this problem is still staring at the Board while it refuses to do anything about it, instead the issue of students doing their exam under cctv is being discussed. The most awful of the recurrent abnormalities is the cancellation of the post-UTME exercise by the Ministry of Education.

Oloyede and Ojerinde
Credit: Daily Post

The cancellation of the post-UTME exercise has caused much damage to the educational sector. People now return to miracle centres to record distinctions through poor means just in a bid to outsmart their colleagues. This is another disadvantage for the poor boy in the farm who is seen daily as the hope of the family; the Ministry through this act will only extend the poverty yoke some homes to the fifth generation! The acclaimed extortion of candidates by the nation’s higher institutions can be easily controlled compared with the ridiculous and illicit acts going on through other means. What is the essence of policies that do not preserve the purpose of the poor?

While people were still finding their way round the mountain of problems created by the seemingly rash decisions of the Ministry, JAMB came up with another controversial decision of not accepting ‘Awaiting Results’ again. It simply translates to ‘you must have your O’level intact before you are done with your high school’ or ‘you wait for another 365 + X days at home, waiting for another JAMB form to be out after your secondary education.’ One wonders what the Board has in mind before making such a huge decision. Many said it was ade to give the ‘older’ candidates upper hand than the ‘younger’ ones. No doubt, what thrives most in the Nigerian society is self-deception! Does it mean that the younger ones will have to suffer for the predicaments of the older generations?

Some will easily say the children can learn a vocation or the other while awaiting JAMB, but the fact remains that, many will through that means become burdens to our society- they will easily add to our afflictions. Children of this generation are impatient and when it seems they are deviated from their purpose for too long, they also deviate into negativity! In as much as acquiring vocational skills is a good move for many people, it is a decision meant for the mature in mind and spirit. Truth be told, the Board has just made this decision to ruin the lives of millions in so many ways.

A possibility is that many students will now give WAEC and NECO a trial while in senior secondary school two. The six-year programme will automatically change to five and I hope we all know the effect(s) of this on the society at large. The worsened state of education in the land will further be dilapidated and true quest for knowledge will go amiss. A resultant effect of this is that many schools will run down; those who depend on the fees of their final year students to pay salaries and other recurrent expenditures will have to look elsewhere to meet up with those expenses.

Also, the Board should know that more than a half of the usual number of candidates will be restricted yearly from taking the exam. Many of the poor children would be forced to loiter the streets for eighteen months, bearing in mind that most public institutions operate a very slow calendar.

While the poor section of the land is still chewing this problem, most children of the poor will be made to attend schools outside of the country within their year of graduation, another problem of capital flight arises through that! Truly, most public laws are made to keep the poor under the cruel watch of the rich. For many years now, the issue of extending the validation of UTME result has been on ground and nothing substantial has been achieved on that. This could have helped the children of the poor, but then, good intents in Nigeria are never materialised!  Until then, everything will remain inconclusive.

 

OKE BABAWALE SIMON is a graduate of the Department of English, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

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