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Govt to blame for poor results

A majority of 2012 O’Level candidates must have had a fit upon hearing of the so-called dismal performance by O’level students countrywide. Such scaremongering should be condemned with the contempt it deserves for nurturing undue anxiety and jitters over nothing.

Insightful statistics proffered by the print media such as The Standard newspaper actually highlight that the results are well within the “normal” trend.

Why the government, and indeed the nation expected a miracle this time around is enough to give one cerebral fissures. Many theories and insinuations have been put up for public consumption and, by the way, the public in general and the pupils in particular are not closer to the truth after all the finger-pointing and name-calling.

Accolades should be given to The Standard for pointing out some stubborn facts which our policymakers want to run away from yet they have remained a part of our educational system for years.

Every year several hundreds of our post A’Level students fail to make the cut into our local state universities to pursue their preferred areas of study due to bottlenecking, they cross the border into South Africa and come back as lawyers and what have you and are employed by the same government which would have initially branded them incompetent. Does anything else beat such gullibility?

Let’s assume for a moment that the government is sincere in decrying the poor O’Level results. Such a problem, if it exists, cannot be solved by piling the blame on teachers and the pupils. Ninety five percent of the blame should squarely and justifiably rest on the government’s shoulders.

Conditions of service for teachers, particularly for rural teachers, are by no means enviable to the extent that most of them are spending most of their time looking for possible transfer destinations instead of researching to uplift their performance as well as that of their pupils.

Most rural schools lack the basic social amenities such as housing, water and proper ablution facilities. Over and above that is erratic transport owing to poor or non-existent road networks and in some cases a hostile political atmosphere. Many rural schools do not have libraries, electricity and in some cases there are no classrooms for pupils.

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