The Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, ABUAD, Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, has decried the shift in the examination calendars by the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, and the National Examinations Council, NECO from April to June to between August and October in the year.
This, according to him, is negatively affecting the chances of final year secondary students to secure admission to tertiary institutions.
Babalola, in a statement signed by him and which was made available to Vanguard correspondent on Thursday, said the shift was also affecting the admission plans of tertiary institutions.
While acknowledging the fact that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic globally led to some disruptions, he opined that the two bodies ought to have got over the jolt and revert to their normal calendars by this year.
“The West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) was established in 1952 primarily to conduct Senior School Certificate Examination specifically between the months of March and July to enable University students to prepare for admission into universities in the months of September/October annually. The set-up by West African countries was in conformity with international standards.
“Granted that Covid-19 Pandemic disrupted this arrangement in 2020, Universities all over the world including most of the universities in Nigeria (Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) included have made use of Virtual Learning System to ensure that the age-long system of the academic calendar was not disrupted.
With the combination of Physical and Virtual Learning, Universities all over the world have continued to meet their obligations to the students and their parents. Therefore, they have been able to complete sessional examinations and admit students annually. Consequently, last year’s session ended in June and this year’s session began in September 2021 in ABUAD and many other universities.
“WAEC which used to conduct yearly examination between April and June and released results between July and August conducted this year’s examination from 16th August to 1st October 2021. In spite of the fact that it was late in conducting the examination, surprisingly, it is yet to publish the result.
“NECO on the other hand which used to conduct its examination between May and July conducted this year’s examination from July 5, 2021, to August 16, 2021. The result was not released until October 30, 2021.
The effect of this delay by both NECO and WAEC is most damaging for both students, parents, and universities. The undue delay has dislocated the programmes of the Universities to the detriment of the university-bound students. It has also created a lot of problems for the universities, teachers, the government, and proprietors of private universities who in any event must pay their teachers in order to retain their services.
“Perhaps, the worst damage done by WAEC and NECO is that most of these students, if not all, may lose a whole year or substantial part of a year idling away and suffering in silence.
“A loss of a year or less or more by anybody may cause irreparable damage forever. According to the saying by C. R. Lawton in Forbes Magazine that:
“Time is the one thing that can never be retrieved. One may lose and regain a friend; one may lose and regain money; opportunity once spurned may come again, but the hours that are lost in idleness can never be brought back to be used in gainful pursuits. Most careers are made or marred in the hours after supper,” he said.
Speaking further, he said, “As a concerned University Proprietor, I call on the Federal Ministry of Education, the National Universities Commission and the Federal Government to call upon WAEC and NECO to address the problem they have created for University-bound students, teachers, parents and the country at large and call on WAEC to release the result immediately. It should also be warned to take the future of the students into consideration in fixing the date of their examination and release of result in such a way that their future will not be adversely affected.”
He noted that his call became necessary because of the importance of education to human beings.
“Education is power. Education is the surest pathway to overcome disease, poverty, and ignorance and also to acquire clean and unquestionable wealth. It is insurance for stable government, a clean environment, and avoidance of imminent damage to the climate and our mother earth.
“It is for this reason and others that prosperous and advanced countries spend as much as 26-33 percent of their budgets on education annually. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, the investment by State and Federal governments through budget allocation is sometimes as low as 5% of the annual budget!!
“Civilized countries such as England, Canada, USA, Japan, Australia, etc, have standardized and predictable academic calendar when schools or universities will resume and close,” he noted.