Stakeholders in the education sector have described the non-release of West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) of 13 debtor states as a national embarrassment.
Some respondents, who spoke with NAN on Tuesday in Abuja, said that the governors were politicking with the education of their subjects.
WAEC had on August 10 announced it was withholding the results of 13 states due to their inability to pay the fees as agreed with the council.
Mr Jerry Okere, an educationist, said that such news should not be heard at all in Nigeria’s education sector as it showed signs of irresponsibility.
“For a state government to decline to pay up the WASSCE fees of their students as agreed with WAEC even after the council had issued a threat is a national embarrassment.
“The governors and states involved are embarrassing the nation; for a governor to sign a Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU) with WAEC only to renege on it is very embarrassing.
“They should not have made such pronouncements if they did not mean to honour it; you do not play politics with the education of your subjects.”
Okere advised WAEC to demand for an upfront payment in subsequent MoUs not just a promissory agreement.
According to him, states should make a commitment of up to 80 to 90 per cent of their total fees before WAEC should oblige them.
He said that the governors made those pledges to win elections and they must fulfill them.
On students’ performance, Okere dismissed the impression that the result was fair in comparison with that of the previous year. “I will not concur that it is a fair performance; 39 per cent out 100 per cent is not a fair performance; it could be an improvement on the figure but certainly not a fair one.
“Why is it that we cannot have a 60 to 70 per cent pass rate?
“It shows that the standard is still on the decline in terms of students’ performance and quality and it calls for an urgent attention.
“It calls for an improvement on the teaching standards and the level of imparting knowledge on the students and enhancement of education infrastructure.”
According to him, the development is also a challenge on the side of government to take a second look at education generally.
He said that the style of teaching needed to be changed, adding that the National Commission for Colleges of Education ought to be reorganised.
A legal practitioner, Mr Ufere Mba, said that withholding of the results by WAEC posed legal questions.
Mba said that WAEC and parents should explore legal options as the students should not be made to suffer for what was not fault of theirs. “Individual students could approach the courts, they can approach the courts as a group; their parents could also approach the court.
“It is a breach of agreement; by undertaking to pay for the students, the state governors have entered an agreement with the students and their parents.
“Another aspect of the breach from the state governments was their not abiding with the agreement with WAEC. You do not score cheap political points and then mortgage the education of thousands of young ones. I think the whole thing is embarrassing”.
A social commentator, Mr Tony Idojie, said that most of the states might not have the money to pay WAEC as they might also be among states battling with arrears of salaries.
He said that instead of making bogus promises in order to win elections, the governors should have allowed parents to go ahead and register their wards for the exam.
Idojie, however, expressed optimism that the results would soon be released if the affected state governments could seek the help of banks as suggested by WAEC.