The Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, has identified lack of skilled Mathematics and English Language teachers as one of the reasons why pupils performed woefully in 2014 West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations.
He stated this on Thursday at the 60th National Council of Education meeting in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Of the 1.7million candidates who sat for this year’s WASSCE, only 529,425 obtained credits in five subjects and above, including English Language and Mathematics.
This implies that about one million pupils will not secure university admission in the country this year.
But Shekarau , who frowned on mass failure, said, “There is no doubt that we have several challenges, among them, the non-availability of skilled teachers of Mathematics and English Language.
“As part of the efforts to support quality education outcome, the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council has introduced e-curriculum, which I inaugurated in September. It would ensure that teachers, learners and other relevant stakeholders have easy online access to the prescribed national curriculum in all subjects.”
Shekarau, who said the Federal Ministry of Education had taken steps to ensure that the Unity Schools key into the effective use of the portal to enhance their studies, urged state governments to embrace the initiative in order to strengthen the quality of education delivery in the country for global competitiveness.
The minister further said that in recognition of the importance of early childhood education, the National Council on Education, at its 59th session, approved the incorporation of the one-year pre-primary education into the existing 6-3-3-4.
Shekarau explained that despite government’s efforts to realise this, about 19 million eligible Nigerian children did not enrol in the early childhood care and development education scheme.
On the containment of Ebola Virus Disease, he commended the state commissioners for education for their cooperation in addressing the scourge.
The Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, said the state’s desire for hosting the meeting was to contribute to the development of a robust educational system that was comparable with what obtains in advanced democracies.
He said, “All over the world, education has been recognised as the most potent tool and catalyst for socio-economic, political, scientific and technological development.
“It is generally known that a nation that attaches the desired importance to its educational development achieves considerable socio-economic advancement to the benefit of its citizenry and contribute significantly to their wellbeing.”
He added that his administration had spent N60bn on education since May 2011.
According to him, education, being the first of his administration’s five cardinal programmes, required a turn-around.
He said, “The situation we met on ground requires total overhauling of the sector. Education is the best legacy that can be bequeathed to the young ones. Education is key to total national development. Employable graduates depend on the quality of education provided.”
He said the provision of free textbooks and other instructional materials, rehabilitation of classrooms, payment of pupils’ WASSCE fees, training of teachers, among others, were the government’s intervention areas in the sector.