“No automatic promotion policy”: Oyo not ripe – ERC …demands review of unified promotion exams

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By; BAYO AKAMO,Ibadan.
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) Oyo State Chapter on Sunday kicked against the cancellation of automatic promotion in public secondary schools by the state government and demands its immediate reversal as well as review of the unified promotion examinations in the state.
ERC in a statement made available to newsmen in Ibadan by its Oyo State Coordinator, Comrade Ogundele Micheal declared that for now,the state is not ripe for the “no automatic promotion policy”.
The group attributed the alleged gross under funding of public education and insensitivity to welfare condition of education workers by successive government in the state to the mass failure recorded by hundreds of public secondary school students in the state in the last unified promotion examination conducted by the state ministry of education.
“To be clear, the ERC supports and promotes academic excellence. However, it is our believe that academic excellence is a function of not just the individual abilities of students but also a reflection of the sum-total of the conditions of public education, learning environment, funding, teaching infrastructures and teachers’ welfare. We therefore demand a reversal of the new promotion policy and an immediate review of the unified promotion examinations,”it said.
ERC emphasized that Oyo state ought “to be mindful of its rigid stance over its new promotion policy which stipulates among other things that only students who score 50% in five major subjects including English and Mathematics will transit to the next class”.
According to ERC, “the huge scale of the mass failure reportedly recorded in the unified examination, could not have been otherwise given the prevailing sorry state of public education in the state and the unfriendly circumstance under which students were compelled to write the so-unified examination”.
“It is our contention that the prevailing circumstance under which students wrote the so-called unified examination was not favorable for any positive academic performance. Take for instance, the academic work that was to be undertaken for 10 weeks out of the 13 weeks the third term was expected to last was actually compressed and forced on students within a limited period of 3 weeks. This is as a result of the decision of the Senator Ajimobi-led government to unilaterally close down all the public schools in the state for 7 weeks without seeking the consent of either the teachers or parents”.
ERC added that “learning under this circumstance will not only be difficult but somehow be impossible  given the fact that most public secondary schools in the state lack of adequate facilities for proper teaching and learning, classes are often overcrowded with a teacher responsible for a minimum of six classes across various levels’ saying,“proper student monitoring through assignment, tests, and other forms of continuous assessment under this kind of situation can rarely take place. This is as a result of the volume of scripts teachers have to contend with”.
“In as much as we of the ERC oppose the idea of automatic promotion; it is also our opinion that it is only where all these situations and circumstances are taken into cognizance, that the newly formulated promotion policy can be regarded as anything close to a valid and fair assessment of the performance of Oyo state public secondary students. This is very important especially in a situation whereby the administered questions in the unified examination were set by officers in the ministries of education instead of respective subject teachers across the schools who would have been more mindful of areas in the syllabus they were unable to cover while preparing the questions to be administered in the examination”.
It maintained that “any promotion policy that fails to put into consideration certain factors like poor state of public education in the state, poor welfare condition under which education workers groan and circumstance under which students wrote the examination is liable to be bias and a rigid stance on its implementation may force parents, students and the general public to conclude that it`s a deliberate ploy by the state government to witch-hunt the students particularly for the mass protest they organized on the 6th of June, 2016 against the plan by the state government to sell off some public secondary schools in the state under a false, anti-people and neo-liberal policy of Public Private partnership (PPP)”.
“It is on this basis that we call on the state government to be mindful of its rigid stance on the so-called promotion policy which the prevailing development across secondary schools in the state has clearly shown to have failed to take cognizance of the poor state of public education in the state and the circumstance under which the examination itself was written. Should the Oyo State Government continue to insist on the new promotion policy in spite of its above-stated deficiency and inadequacies, we of the ERC will be left with no other option than to conclude that policy is a deliberate ploy by the state government to create a public hysteria in order to deepen its hypocritical argument of poor standard of public education so as to revive its plan to sell off some public secondary schools in the state”.

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