By Odion Izegwire “You are who you are; you can’t…
By Abdussalam Amoo
When I see a public official or politician deciding to ’empower’ his people by sponsoring their public examinations (SSCE/UTME) forms, I regard such as a misplaced priority. Education promotion is always important but some gaps are still left unfilled. You may not agree with me, just take a look at this: what happens before the exam to prepare such candidates? What becomes of them after they pass or fail? Will that politician do anything for them afterwards?
You can be sure that after paying for the exams, the beneficiaries are likely abandoned. There is the issue of those who would see the ‘free money’ as an opportunity not to be serious. They end up failing since no adequate preparation was made to coach them properly ahead of their exams. Beyond this, the ones who strive on their own and excell have the hurdles of exorbitant tuition to pay. That’s especially if they’re not well guided in terms of what school to choose. Many federal universities are the cheapest and the top best. Thus, candidates should be advised to choose one of such.
If Sponsors of candidates to write public examinations need to rethink how they spend their funds. Their spendings should be directed rather to improving the quality of education students receive. Adequate teacher welfarism and training would be a way to start.
Rather than just spending money to sponsor the entire exam for each candidate, an option may be to fund a part of it for registration and leave the rest of funding to the candidate. People value what they strive for than what they get on a golden platter.
We may want to replicate the Katsina style too. The government there stopped sponsoring ‘free forms’ for all candidates last year and replaced it with a refunding measure. It however encouraged their parents to source funds while ensuring that the students were well prepared for the exams. The condition for getting a refund was that you pass the exams with the minimum required standards for not less than 5 credits including Mathematics and English. Without a conducive learning condition for both teachers and students, the monies devoted to sponsoring candidates for public exams would just turn out as wastage. The philanthropy should extend to equipping the school labs and libraries, spending on extra coaching for the students while setting in motion a sustainable way of funding those candidates’ education. Rather than paying just for the exams, the sponsors may as well equip these candidates and their parents/guardians with skill acquisition so that they’d have little or no course to keep waiting funding as education progresses. We appreciate those already paying for WAEC, NECO and JAMB form but they have to do beyond that.
Abdussalam Amoo is passionate about education. He blogs at educeleb.com