Today our attention is focused on events in the education sector of Imo State bugging the minds of parents, guardians and pupils in the state. Though there is no commissioner in charge of the ministry of education for now but we are aware that there is a Permanent Secretary and other relevant authorities capable, qualified and saddled with assignments in the ministry which are sources of concern and are seen to be bugging the minds of the public.
Few days ago one of the external bodies saddled with the responsibility of conducting terminal examinations and issuing qualifying certificates to exit students of secondary schools in Nigeria, the National Examination Council (NECO) began the conduct of the nation Exams for public schools presumably to be followed by the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) which had to delay her examinations so as to enable teachers and pupils cover grounds or syllabus lost last year as a result of the National lockdown owing to the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic of 2019 (COVID-19).
Today Tuesday, July 27, most private primary schools and presumably, public primary and secondary schools are going on an eight week summer holiday preparatory for the next academic year beginning in September. Yet to date nothing has been heard or done about the conduct of the First School Leaving Certificate Examination and qualifying common entrance Examination for primary six pupils who hope to go to secondary school next session as well as the examination for students of Junior Secondary Schools to go to the Senior Secondary Schools. Both parents, guardians and the pupils as well as the public are worried. They would want to know whether these relevant examinations have been abrogated or the certificates are no longer necessary or required for continuity. We are sure that if not for anything the basic First School Leaving Certificate is needed for the rest of the individual citizen’s further academic pursuits or skills acquisition.
Most people in the state are worried and agitated as the early conduct of these examinations and early placement of prospective students in relevant schools offers parents and guardian as well the children the opportunity of utilizing the long vacation to prepare for the next academic year, making necessary purchases, possible changes or adjustments to suit individual families. Everywhere in the education sector seems to be silent as nothing has been heard from either the Imo State Universal Basic Education Board (IMSUBEB) or the state Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB).
Again, with the onset of the National Examination Council Examination and the expected West Africa School Certificate Examination in the state, what arrangement has the relevant education authorities and state government put in place to ensure adequate safety and security of candidates in the state. Though the activities of the unknown gunmen posing security threats and fear have subsided, the menace of kidnappers, ritualists or even cultists is still hovering around and we are yet to evade them. We expect the school and education authorities with relevant security agencies to private adequate security at the examination centres to enable the candidates write their exams in cordial atmosphere devoid of fear of any form of insecurity.