By Adedapo Adesanya
The Borno State Government has said reintroduced the common entrance exams at the primary six class before getting admission into junior secondary schools in the state.
Governor Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno State made the disclosure when he hosted 84 principals of all public secondary schools in the state at the Government House in Maiduguri as part of efforts to tackle the terrible state of education.
Mr Zulum directed 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.
The Borno Governor noted that there was a need to be open about the realities of challenges in the educational system rather covering up for fear of victimisation. He said the aim was to get first-hand and undiluted information from the principals on problems facing the public secondary school system in this state.
He further directed that school authorities must henceforth take all qualifying and promotional examinations seriously as the government will monitor all conducts.
“I have been to several schools, and each time I asked, some of you, principals, found 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.
“I can recall that twenty years ago, principals were not willing to even become permanent secretaries because of job satisfaction. Today, that satisfaction is longer there,” he said.
There is a general decline in the standard of education in public institutions all over the country. There is a 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 is poor data management and indiscipline amongst the major problems affecting the public-school system,” Mr Zulum said.
He further assured that drastic measures will continually be adopted to improve the training and welfare of teachers and administrators of public-school system to motivate high performance while supervision will be drastically changed for the purpose of punishing those unready to change.
During the interactive session, most of the principals complained about the poor quality of primary school graduates who come into secondary schools without a strong foundation and assured them that he would work with them to ensure quality education in the state.
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