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Consistent delay in release of Common Entrance Exams result raises concerns

By Gbenga Salau
08 January 2023   |   4:21 am
* Late Resumption Has Negative Consequences On Pupils, Learning Outcomes – Educationists When Ifenna Onyema, a primary six pupil of a state-owned primary school wrote the 2021 Lagos State Common Entrance Examination for admission into state-owned Junior Secondary School (JSS) 1, he did not know that he would wait for about five months before being offered…

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* Late Resumption Has Negative Consequences On Pupils, Learning Outcomes – Educationists

When Ifenna Onyema, a primary six pupil of a state-owned primary school wrote the 2021 Lagos State Common Entrance Examination for admission into state-owned Junior Secondary School (JSS) 1, he did not know that he would wait for about five months before being offered a place to commence secondary education. 
But while waiting to be admitted, academic activities in both private and public secondary continued, and the first term of the new academic session was nearing its end. 

  
Consequently, he lost a reasonable part of the 2021/2022 academic session, as the result of the examination was released a couple of weeks before the end of the first term of the 2021/2022 sessions. In other words, he resumed school at a time his classmates in public and private secondary schools were preparing to write their first term examination. 
   
Peeved by the development, his Mother, Mrs. Caroline Onyema, expressed frustration at the development, lamenting that the delay affected her son negatively, and cost the family extra expenses.  
  
“He chose Awori Ajeromi Junior Grammar School, a public secondary school. As a result of the delay in the release of the placement, my husband and I decided to register him in a private school close to our house. This was because he kept agonising, and disturbing us, asking why he was at home when many of his mates were going to school. So, we had no other option than to provide a temporary alternative. 
  
“By the time the common entrance result was released by the state government, we had to withdraw him from the private school to enable him to resume at Awori Grammar School. There, he had only a few weeks of lectures before writing the first term examination. As a matter of fact, I had to make photocopies of what had been taught before he resumed so that he could catch up.” 

Interestingly, Mrs. Onyema explained that she found out that “all the pupils resumed reasonably late. But I also observed that the state government gave preference to those who wrote the examination from public primary schools.”
 
Another parent, Mr. David Obinna, whose son also wrote the examination in 2021, confirmed that his son also “lost a term” as a result of the delay, stressing that it was unfair for examination results to be delayed until a few weeks before the end of the first term. 
 
“It is unfair for pupils who wrote the placement entrance examination to be at home when others are going to school. My child was hanging around in the compound when other children were going to school.”
Because of the unfortunate development, Obinna while complaining to the head teacher, threaten that his other children in the school may not write the examination there because of the delay in the arrival of the result.  
 
This year, the same scenario yet again played out, as many pupils who wrote the placement examination only got placed in their new schools months after their counterparts that headed to private schools resumed lectures. 
 Many parents, teachers, school managers, and other stakeholders are worried about the sloppy release of common entrance examination results in the past. This is against the backdrop that it takes only a few weeks for the results of similar examinations into modern colleges to be released. 
  
The stakeholders lamented that the delayed release, which is becoming the norm in the state, has dire consequences on the pupils’ early life in secondary schools, including a negative effect on learning in the first term. 

  
A teacher, who pleaded anonymity, alleged that officials of Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) were up to some form of mischief, wondering what was responsible for the sloppy release of results, especially where most public secondary schools are not meeting up their classroom quota for admission.
  
“It would have been excusable in places where pupils seeking admission are more than available spaces, but it is not so in all the local councils, yet the same scenario keeps on playing out year-in, year-out.”
   
A head teacher, who also asked not to be named, stated that parents usually blamed school authorities for the delay in the release of the result, with some of the parents threatening to withdraw their other children’s and wards from the school. 
  
“Parents will make repeated calls to the school asking why their children’s results were still pending. And I usually make repeated appeals to them to exercise patience just to calm the parents. Until the results are released and placement is done, I usually do not have a pleasant time,” he lamented
   
When The Guardian contacted the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Lagos State Examination Board, Fatai Bakare, he said that it was the responsibility of the state’s Examination Board to conduct the test in concert with SUBEB.
  
He added that after successfully conducting the examination, the board makes the result available to SUBEB for placement. He, however, said that the examination board only conducts common entrance examination into modern colleges. The Guardian contacted him three weeks after the first term of the ongoing 2022/2023 academic session commenced.
 
He, therefore, referred The Guardian SUSBEB for an appropriate response.
 Surprisingly, it was that week that the first batch of placement of pupils was done. This was three weeks after pupils in secondary schools had started academic work. The second batch of placement of pupils into JSS 1 classes was also done in mid-October 2022 while some pupils are still waiting to be placed.
 
When he was contacted, the Chairman of LSUSBEB, Wahab Alawiye-King, confirmed that his agency conducts the entrance examination, adding that at that time, the test had been concluded, and two batches of placements had been done, while the agency was working on the third batch.
  
“We have done two batches and we are waiting for the third batch to be done. So, we are not delaying anything. The first batch has been done and they are pupils who have got clearance and have been admitted. The second batch has also been done. The third batch is what we are working on now and I believe that by the end of this week, it would also be concluded.”
  
On what causes a delay in the release of results of examinations that are usually written in July, he said: “We follow processes and procedures. And there are processes to be followed. The third batch will be concluded this weekend (late October).”
 
Commenting on the likely negative impact of pupils resuming weeks after other pupils had resumed, an educationist, Mr. Ojo Moboluwaji Raphael said that students, who resume classes months after general resumption are mostly impacted negatively due to the volume of work they need to do to regain lost time, as well as the pressure to succeed. 
 
“Two months amounts to two-thirds of an academic term. This gap impacts both the mental and social well-being of such students and is always hard to bridge. Also, most of the students that fall into this category are the ones that are often helping their parents after school, to support their families.”

 Peter Omonigho Dugbo, another educationist while also commenting stated that students who return to classes too late often experience a loss of connection, which can result in behavioural issues and dropouts.
  
“The social experience has a significant impact on a child’s feelings about school, and his or her capacity to succeed academically. Classmates who are late have a bad effect on their teachers and other students. Teachers frequently have to reorganise their lessons or repeat the teaching of missing material because tardy pupils must be given the opportunity to make up their work.
  
“Additionally, tardiness diverts other students’ attention from a teacher’s lesson; a child who has just arrived draws attention away from the teacher, or assignment. Classmates may begin to criticise these youngsters over time, impacting how they feel about themselves at school. Adolescents are extremely concerned with fitting in and being accepted by their classmates. If a child is consistently late, they may become a target or outcast over time, and unpleasant peer relationships might impair their ability to focus on learning, thereby increasing behavioural issues and causing lost learning,” Dugbo said.
 
“The school authority should emphasise students’ early resumption as late resumption hurts their (student’s) academic performance and overall wellbeing,” he concluded.