Education, Youth and Sports Minister, Dr. Minkailu Bah on Thursday 9th October 2008 has confirmed that there is a rapid decline in educational output at all levels in the country.
The minister was speaking at the weekly government press briefing in relation to the poor performance of students in the last West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
“Official figures have shown that out of a total of 23,937 secondary school pupils who attempted the 2008 WASSCE, only 1,563 had entry requirements into tertiary institutions,” the Minister said, adding that this situation is highly unfortunate and an indication of a fall in the standards of the educational system.
He says the ministry has identified some key factors responsible for the recurring dismal performance of students who attempt the WASSCE examinations every year.
“Lack of commitment by stakeholders and unseriousness on the part of students are highly responsible for the degrading educational performance,” he said, adding, “teachers and most parents lack commitment towards educating the pupils as many of them have either done nothing or have concentrated their time and energies to capital intensive activities, much to the detriment of the children’s academic progress.”
He explains that a very weak foundation at Junior Secondary School and the first and second years at Senior Secondary School cannot accord pupils the ability to do well in the WASSCE.
The Minister pointed out that over-enrollment of pupils into Senior Secondary Schools, is also causing problems to the educational system.
“A good number of these enrolled students have either failed or have not gone through the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE),” he says, noting that lack of supervision of teachers by principals and heads of schools are major factors contributing to the collapse of the educational system.
He added that unwarranted sale of irrelevant pamphlets by teachers who normally refrain from giving lecture notes to students is also part of the problem.
“A WAEC examiners report has also revealed that most secondary school teachers fail to cover one third of the WASSCE syllabus,” the minister revealed.
He said his ministry is fully determined to correct this anomaly by engaging all stakeholders in education to deliberate on the issue.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.