Final year students of public secondary schools in Borno State will this week write special examinations in English Language and Mathematics to assess their suitability for next year’s school certificate examinations.
The state government is organizing the examinations just over a month after the students returned to classes after a two-year holiday forced on them by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Nigerian students conclude their secondary school education by sitting for the school certificate examinations organized separately by the West African Examination Council, WAEC, and the National Examination Council, NECO, between May and July.
In March 2014, two months before the first of the examinations commenced, Borno State ordered the closure of public primary and secondary schools, following a spate of attacks by Boko Haram on educational institutions.
The schools only reopened in September 2016, after the Nigerian military and local civilian volunteers chased the terrorists from most part of Borno.
But the state’s commissioner for education, Musa Kubo, on Monday in Maiduguri, said the final year students, having stayed away from classes for over two years, would need to be tested before being allowed to sit for the next school certificate examinations.
The Borno State government, as is the case in many states, pays the WAEC and NECO of its students.
Mr. Kubo said the government could not pay for students until it was sure they were prepared and could pass the examinations.
“Government has opened schools after over two years closure due to the threat to security by Boko Haram insurgents”, said Mr Kubo.
“Unfortunately, the opening of the schools coincided with the time the final year students are supposed to register for their WAEC and NECO. So we in government as well as the teachers agreed that it would not be fair to march the returnee students straight to the examinations unprepared.
“That was (the reason) why the state governor, Kashim Shettima, has given us the approval that a final year mock examination be conducted for all graduating students with a view to assessing their capabilities in passing the WAEC and NECO (examinations).
“Any student that passes the mock exams by average will be registered for the WAEC and NECO (examinations). Anyone that performs below average will be excused to go and get more prepared for the exams next year”.
The commissioner said the initiative was not meant to deny any students public assistance but to ensure that time and resources were not wasted by allowing ill-prepared students sit for examinations.
“All we are doing is trying to secure the future of these students. If we allow them to sit for the exams without adequate preparation and they later fail, they may not get a second chance once they exit the schools”, he said.
He said the state education resource centre had been directed to organise the mock examinations to be conducted this week.
“The exams will be taken in only two subjects, which are English and Mathematics, and the questions will not be too simple or too difficult for the students”, he said.
The Commissioner toured many secondary schools on Monday to intimate the students with conditions they have to meet before registering for the two secondary school leaving examinations.