By Isidore Abah & *Andrew Nsoseka
Weeks after the publication of results of the General Certificates of Examination, GCE, for the 2013/2014 academic year, education stakeholders in the Southwest Region have been reacting to the poor performance of candidates especially in the Ordinary Level. The Ordinary Level results this year witnessed a decrease of 11.36 percent as compared to last year.
Out of the 81,877 candidates who sat for the exam, only 28,177 succeeded, scoring 34.77 percent. Reacting to the students’ performance after the results were made public, GCE Board Registrar, Humphrey Ekema Monono, said the poor result at the Ordinary Level can be blamed on the students’ ages.
“The students are very young and are not focused; their level of understanding is equally very low. The absence of teachers in most schools and the problem of teachers not following the right syllabus is another issue. Some of these teachers do not make an effort to complete the syllabus and it reflects on the students’ results.
Again, some teachers in Government schools are becoming lazy; students in private schools perform better because they are well coordinated.
The syndrome of teachers fighting to be Principals or Vice Principals in most Government schools, is greatly affecting the students. There are schools where Vice Principals and Discipline Masters outnumber the teaching staff: who then teaches the students?
What happens to the young Cameroonians who “are leaders of tomorrow”? With the lack of passion for the teaching job, there is no doubt that Government schools perform this poor, whereas Government keeps training teachers but will soon run out of teachers, as some individuals use the teaching matricule number to gain promotion and transfers to other ministries,” Monono fumed.
The Registrar further stated that the Advance Level candidates performed better because; “They can work independently from their teachers due to their maturity.” When these reporters met the Southwest Regional Delegate of Secondary Education, Francis Ngundu Mokumba, in his office and sought to find out the cause of the general poor performance at the Ordinary Level, how teachers are mobilised to meet the needs of the
students and what sanctions are meted out to unruly teachers; the Delegate tactfully refused to grant audience, hear him, “I am not afraid of the recorder, I will like you to come back at 4:00 pm.” An appointment, the Delegate failed to keep. Meanwhile, Marcel Nyuysemu, a Philosophy teacher said the poor results at the Ordinary Level can be attributed to lack of parental control and that some students are increasingly being distracted by ICT tools.
Although he blamed both the students and parents, Nyuysemu further asserted that laxity in Government schools is also a reason for the poor results. “Government teachers are sure of their salaries at the end of each month, so it doesn’t matter whether they teach or not, unlike teachers of private schools who are paid according to the number of hours they put in per month,” he noted.
Frankline Akat, a Geography teacher for his part said; “Ordinary Level candidates are still to understand the importance of education, which is why most of them are joking, unlike their peers in the high school who already know what they want in life and are anxious to gain admission into various universities”.
Another teacher, Simon Che Njafor, said the blame should be borne by all the education stakeholders; the parents, students, teachers and the Government. To him, some parents do not buy text books or follow up their children at home, teachers on their part prioritise part time jobs in different schools at the detriment of their place of work and students are not serious as they tend to lazy around, while Government’s constant change of syllabus is greatly affecting the results.
Che observed that it is not surprising that this year’s results are poor. “Teachers are still grappling to understand the Competence Base Approach system of education recently introduced by Government. This was some kind of a pilot phase that explains why results were this bad,” Che asserted.
*(UB Journalism Student on Internship)