Ogun urged to discontinue payment of WAEC fees
The Ogun State Government has been urged to discontinue the payment of West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Examination fees for its candidates.
Instead, parents have been directed to pay for the examination of their wards, as doing so will raise the level of their responsibility and responsiveness on their children, thus improving performance in the overall results.
These were contained in a 28-paragraph communiqué issued at the end of a two-day Education Summit organised by the state government.
Participants at the summit which took place between May 22 and 23, 2017, unanimously agreed that funds saved from the discontinued payment of the WAEC fees should be re-directed to other needy areas.
The Ogun State Government paid N489, 792,695 in 2016 as WAEC fees for its 41,421 candidates.
Participants also urged the government to increase the 20% budget allocation on yearly basis for the Education Sector to meet the 26% UNESCO benchmark.
The state government was equally enjoined to set up its own Education Trust Fund that would assist it in the delivery of its qualitative and affordable education with unbridled access by indigent students.
“The State Government should establish a Tertiary Admission Monitoring Committee to monitor the application and admission of Ogun State indigenes to tertiary institutions, thus, taking full advantage of admission opportunities available to the state and her qualified candidates across board”, the communiqué stated.
It was also agreed that “Tetfund allocation in the State should be directed at projects that would add value to education at the tertiary level, while “The State Government is enjoined to set up Examination Ethics Group to monitor Computer Based Test centres and other Examination venues to ensure that all forms of sharp practices, irregularities and examination malpractices are eliminated.”
The State Government was also enjoined to re-position the provision of education using critical ICT skills for teaching, learning, examination, reviews and other deliverables.
It was also agreed that emphasis must now be placed on skills acquisition in schools to improve the State education advancement and enhance mass acquisition of knowledge and information.
Government was advised to put in place industrial-driven vocational training and to properly equip the technical colleges to fast-track skills acquisition and make graduates from that sub-sector readily employable.
It was also agreed upon by participants that trainees in the Technical colleges should be made to spend 30% in school and 70% in companies on internship.
The Ogun State Government was also enjoined to explore the provision, expansion of bandwidth for internet connectivity in schools and concepts like “Opon Imo” to fast-track learning and cut education cost.
“School Board Management Committee (SBMCS) are necessary as a veritable platform in our schools. It affords stakeholders (parents, community/leaders, Old Students etc.) the opportunity to take ownership of education and contribute immensely to its development.
“In addressing school security, the Government is urged to employ Guidance Counsellors, put in place counselling units and mentoring of students, provision of school perimeter fence, survey of school lands, issuance of C of O’s and putting up Education Security Trust Fund to draw fund for school security.
“There must be assessment of Teachers periodically while students’ performance should now determine the rating or promotion of the teachers.
“Government is enjoined to periodically engage in the training and re-training of Teachers as a way of updating their knowledge and enhancement of their competency. Special and attractive package must be earmarked for teachers serving in the rural areas as a way of motivating them.
“Monitoring and supervision of our schools should improve while quality assurance units and officers must be empowered with training of personnel and provision of project vehicles”, the communiqué emphasised.
It was also suggested that curriculum should be domesticated to meet local needs, and reviewed constantly, while implementation should be paramount.
Students with special needs are urged to be given deserved attention while all education stakeholders should be involved in their upbringing and training. They should be referred to as differently able children and not disabled children.
On the Unified Examination, stakeholders agreed that this should be conducted by the government only in the third term as against the three terms in a session, but that Principals in public secondary schools be made to conduct the first and second examinations taking into consideration the peculiarity of each school.
“A reasonable overhead examination cost to be borne by parents could be introduced for Unified Examination”, the stakeholders agreed.
It was agreed that competitive entrance test must be extended to all public secondary schools across the state in order to allow for a level free ground for all learners.
Other highlights of the communiqué included the following: Empower teachers to discipline learners; Reawaken/strengthen things like school debates and societies; Enforce the law prohibiting GSM; Sports facilities to be revisited; Corporate organizations, public spirited individuals, old students association, must be actively involved in the funding of Education via provision of infrastructural facilities, sponsorship of academic and sporting competitions. This is because no government, irrespective of its benevolence can single-handedly, effectively fund education.
Parents were also charged to be alive to their responsibilities by dutifully checking on their children/wards to prevent them from being initiated into cultism or taking them out if they were; Review of School Curriculum to focus on the State peculiarity without jeopardizing the content of the National Curriculum; and ensuring entrepreneurship/trade subjects are taught vigorously in schools.
The more than 2,000 participants at the two-day summit were drawn from private and public schools, Parent Teachers Associations, market women, Religious Associations, State Universal Basic Education Board, Teaching Service Commission, Past Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries.
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