WAEC’S 39 new subjects!
The West African Examinations Council has announced the introduction of 39 new subjects in its examinations.
The Council’s Acting Head, Test Development Division, Mrs. Olayinka Ajibade, who announced this, said the new subjects would commence in this year’s May/June West African Senior School Certificate Examination.
Ajibade said this while delivering a paper titled “The New Senior Secondary Education Curriculum in Nigeria: Implications for Assessment” at the council’s monthly seminar in Lagos on Friday.
The fresh initiative, she said, was in accordance with the Nigerian Education Research and Development Council’s new secondary school curriculum.
The NERDC is the body responsible for reviewing primary and secondary schools’ curricula in the country.
She said, “The implementation of the new SSCE curricula began in September 2011, meaning that the maiden public examinations based on the new/ revised curricula are expected to be held in May/ June 2014.
“Each WASSCE syllabus is derived from the senior secondary education curriculum. In addition to the 39 new subjects for which NERDC engaged in curriculum development, curriculum review was also carried out for 35 existing subjects.”
In the new curriculum, four new subjects- Computer Studies, Insurance, Store Management and Office Practice- are in the electives category, while the remaining 35 subjects are in the Trades category.
Among subjects in the trade category are Painting and Decorating, Photography, Salesmanship, Plumbing and Pipe Fitting, and Upholstery.
Ajibade added that under the fresh directive, students would be required to take four core subjects, comprising English Language, General Mathematics, Civic Education and Trade/ Entrepreneurial Studies.
The candidates, she added, would be required to choose three or four subjects from Humanities, Science, Technology and Business Studies depending on their potential and interest.
Ajibade, while unveiling this, noted however that the new directive would face some challenges.
She identified inadequate teachers, appalling state of facilities in schools and large class size as some of the challenges that would likely beset the initiative.
EDITORIAL BY THIS DAY NEWSPAPER EARLIER THIS MONTH
“While we do not want to query how WAEC came about the subjects it is now introducing or the rationale behind the idea, we find it rather curious that the examination body would fall into the “immediate effect” trap. How could these subjects that were never part of the old curriculum feature in the examination to be held this year?
But there are even bigger questions: what is the relevance of some of these subjects to our national development?
Where are the teachers for these subjects? Is introducing plumbing and other such artisanal works into the WAEC curriculum a solution to the challenge of credibility facing the institution?
Given the consistent flow of controversies that trail the release of the SSCE results over the years, including confirmed allegations of examination irregularities and compromised invigilators, we believe there are serious issues WAEC should deal with. In fact, at a time WAEC had become a symbol of the failure of education in Nigeria, we find it curious that the examination body is trying to solve a problem that does not exist while sidestepping the real issue.
It is noteworthy that the emergence of the NECO option to improve access to O’level academic certification was a consequence of the increasing lack of credibility in WAEC results. Yet the nation has been repeatedly scandalised by the incredible difference in the performance of candidates who sat for the same examinations. It is incomprehensible, for instance, that the same candidate should perform miserably in the examination of one of the bodies and superlatively in the other. Being that the examinations are based on the same syllabus there is no explanation other than poor credibility of one, or both, of the examination bodies.
Indeed, to most analysts, the WAEC/NECO dysfunctionality is a throwback to the well- intentioned design of the Interim Joint Matriculation Board (IJMB) examinations to cushion the access and certification challenges facing A’level candidates in the 70s and 80s. The same peculiar pattern of candidates performing very poorly in one examination while coming out with flying colours in the other was evident. It would be recalled that several universities simply refused to recognise the IJMB certificates. Employers of labour also dismissed it off-hand as having questionable antecedents.
Against the background that over the past five years Nigeria has consistently recorded an annual less-than-40 per cent success rate in these examinations, such consistence in mass failure shows that something is dangerously wrong with the educational system and/or the environment that churns out annually a generation of illiterate young boys and girls. We therefore believe very strongly that the WAEC authorities should put on their thinking caps and come up with better solution to the challenge of credibility still afflicting the examination body.
Finally, we invite the attention of the Federal Ministry of Education to the implications of the new syllabus being introduced by WAEC and urge the authorities to save the nation the steady flow of embarrassing news from the education sector.”