For Kwara, a state that has produced array of notable personalities making marks in various fields of life endeavour vis-a-vis contributing to national development, the narrative of its absymal academic performance in external examinations by secondary school students over the years, is ironic.
The state, which also boasts of foremost educational institutions had hitherto lagged behind in academic ranking in the comity of states especially in the senior secondary examinations.
Therefore, the news of the excellent performance of candidates presented by the state for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for 2017, is heartwarming. It is an accomplishment worth rolling out the drums to celebrate. This is because the performance of candidates presented by the state for the external examination is a marked improvement over that of previous years.
For the first time in the annals of the state, it recorded 64 percent in the examination, thus breaking the jinx of failure in WASSCE. From successive outcomes, the state had at no time hit the mid mark of 50%.
Indeed, this is the best of times for the education sector of the state as barely a fortnight after the release/ announcement of result of the senior secondary examination, the state recorded another academic feat in its Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
The state performance was rated 86 percent with 37, 480 candidates who sat for the junior secondary school examination, passed.
The Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Hajia Mariam Ayodeji Garba, who spoke on the development described the performance as the best in the history of the state.
From analysis of the WASSCE , there is significant steady improvement in candidates’ performance over the years as most of them scored five credits and above in English Language and Mathematics, which are the basic prerequisites for university admission. It is heartening that the feat is coming at a time when the education ministry upscaled its fight against examination malpractice.
This achievement, which undoubtedly is a no mean feat cannot be divorced from effort of the state government through the state Ministry of Education at renewed effort targeted at revolutionising and transforming the state’s education sector into a more qualitative, vibrant, efficient and result-oriented one.
The monitoring of schools tagged “Operation Reach All Schools, “and teachers’ evaluation, is result oriented, culminating in effective teaching and learning in schools across the state.
The state Commissioner of Education and Human Capital Development, Alhaji Musa Yeketi supported by Permanent Secretary of the ministry, as well as others on their team embarked upon on the exercise, which helped to unearth the multi-facet problems and rots in the education system, with view to addressing them.
Despite lean resources, they ensured conclusion of the evaluation tour, which commenced last year and took them to the nooks and crannies of the state. This one can say is borne out of overwhelming passion for quality education and commitment to guarantee the future of the children as leaders of tomorrow.
This recent development has also put paid to the Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed led administration effort and avowed commitment at re-invigorating the education sector in order to meet the requisite standard. The effort in addition has gone a long way to demonstrate the high premium the state government places on education as the bedrock of nation building.
Essentially, the government’s interventions and innovation among other approaches, have combined to produce the academic excellence recently recorded in the state.
While commending the state for the accomplishment, it is hope that the feat will not only be sustained but also improved upon.
While basking in the euphoria of the academic excellence, the state should focus on ways of improving on the performance in subsequent external examinations, which can be achieved through proactive measures including renovation of schools. The state government has reportedly budgeted N1bn for the project. It is therefore expected that action will be expedited soon in this direction to make the teaching and learning environment conducive. Infrastructural decay is a major challenge to teaching and learning in schools in the state. The unconducive environment has impacted negatively on quality of education and thus calls for urgent special interventions. So, also the state government should not relent in its efforts at promoting job satisfaction, efficiency and productivity among the teaching and other measures to demonstrate this administration’s resolve at providing quality education for the people of the state.