by Stanley Azuakola
The Oyo government recently announced a raft of new measures in public secondary schools in the state partly as a result of reforming schools for better performance and partly because the state government says it has no funds to sustain some of the present initiatives in schools like the payment of registration fees for aspiring candidates.
The reform measures announced by Gov. Abiola Ajimobi has led to protest and criticisms in some quarters while many others have welcomed it.
Below are the five major planks of the reforms:
ONE: ENFORCEMENT OF 80% ATTENDANCE
According to the government, henceforth there will be enforcement of 80% attendance for all students to ensure their optimum performance in external or internal examinations. Students who fail to achieve the set standard would not be eligible for promotion to higher classes.
TWO: CANCELLATION OF AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS
Automatic promotion of students in all public secondary is now cancelled. According to the state government, promotions will henceforth be based on merit so as “to ensure that quality products are graduated from the public schools.”
THREE: EXTRAMURAL CLASSES
“Extramural classes will be reinvigorated for JSS3 and SSS3 in all public secondary schools,” the government says. This measure, according to them, is to add quality time to the teaching period.
FOUR: EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT LEVY
A sum of N3,000 (three thousand naira) will be paid per student on annual basis as Education Development Levy. The payment of the levy will be in three installments of N1,000 per term. Funds gathered would be utilised to compliment government’s effort in the improvement of infrastructure in public secondary schools.
FIVE: NO MORE FREE WAEC REGISTRATION
Oyo government has stopped further payment of WAEC registration fees with effect from 2015/16 academic session. “This is as a result of poor financial status of the state government, coupled with the lackadaisical attitude of parents and students to promotion of quality education. This is as manifested in the data on student enrolment and performance in WAEC examination in the past seven years,” the statement said.
The government claimed that of the 396,579 students from Oyo state who they registered for WAEC from 2007 to 2013, only 56,605 passed, representing a pass rate of 14.27%. A massive 85.73% failed, the government said. Of the N2.068billion which the government paid in registrations, the value of the number of students who passed was N315.513million, while the state lost a value of N1.752billion.
SIX: MOCK EXAMS
The state government intends to introduce a controversial mock exam for final year students “to ensure that only serious and quality students are “presented for final external examinations.” It is unclear why students have to be screened out from writing the exams by the state government when they are no longer going to pay the bills.
SEVEN: ZONAL EDUCATION MONITORING COMMITTEES
The government says that Zonal Education Monitoring Committees will be inaugurated in the eight educational zones of the state in tandem with the provision of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) ACT. The committees will comprise of seasoned educationists, parents and security agents. They will be required to submit monthly reports after monitoring schools within the zones to “bring to students’truancy and social ills noticeable within and outside school’s’premises to a zero level.”