The Borno state government has ordered for the immediate reintroduction of the Common Entrance Examination to primary six pupils, before moving to Junior Secondary schools across the state.
Governor Babagana Zulum disclosed this while having a meeting with the principals of 84 secondary schools in the state which held at the Multi-Purpose Hall of the Government House, Maiduguri, and said “no common entrance no JSS 1”.
Zulum also ordered the enforcement of a qualifying policy that henceforth, only pupils who pass the examination by securing a cut-off mark, should be eligible for admission into the first year of junior secondary schools (JSS 1), as against giving admissions to all pupils regardless of common entrance criteria.
He also directed that school authorities must henceforth take all qualifying and promotional examinations seriously as the government will monitor all conducts.
During the meeting with the 84 principals of all public secondary schools in the state, Zulum conditioned them, to be honest in telling him the realities of challenges in the system, rather than a cover-up for fear of victimization.
“I have been to several schools, and each time I asked, some of your principals find it difficult to explain the problems in your schools. I was later made to understand that if you tell me the truth, you would either be transferred somewhere you wouldn’t like or somehow be victimized. Please I beg all of you to tell me the truth. Let us tell ourselves the truth so that we can improve Borno’s public education from where we are now.
“I am pleading with you to please be upright, be honest. Education is the bedrock of any development. Without a functional educational system, we shall continue to experience this Boko Haram insurgency in Borno.
“Look at the kind of students we are graduating from our public secondary schools, most of them do not qualify for admission into universities, even those who get admitted find it very difficult to cope. I assure you that telling me the truth will not lead to anything happening to any of you by God’s grace” Zulum told the principals.
The Governor went down memory lane to remind the principals of old good days, and the need for all stakeholders to regain quality in the public school system.
“I can recall that 20-years ago, principals were not willing to even become permanent secretaries because of job satisfaction. Today, that satisfaction is longer there. There is a general decline in the standard of education in public institutions all over the country.
“There is the lack of qualified teachers, inadequate teaching facilities, poor maintenance culture, general decay of infrastructure, government’s inability to ensure monitoring and evaluation, centralized control by the Ministry, unnecessary bureaucracy, and irregular training and retraining of teachers and other essential staff. There are poor data management and indiscipline amongst the major problems affecting the public school system” Zulum mentioned.
The Governor assured that measures will continually be adopted to improve the training and welfare of teachers and administrators of the public school system to motivate high performance while supervision will be drastically changed for the purpose of punishing those unready to change.
The principals took turns to voice out problems of the 84 secondary schools across Borno’s 27 local government areas after the Governor’s remark.
Most of the principals complained about the poor quality of primary school graduates who come into secondary schools without a strong foundation.
They urged the Governor to critically look into the reintroduction of common entrance examinations at primary six levels, which should be a yardstick for admission into secondary schools.