Mixed reactions trail the introduction of 39 new subjects by WAEC

Some stakeholders in the educational sector have expressed mix feelings at the introduction of 39 new subjects for annual examinations by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).

In interviews with conducted in Lagos, some of them hailed the initiative while others said that it would be too demanding.

The WAEC Acting Head, Test Development Division, Mrs Olayinka Ajibade, had announced the introduction on Jan. 31 in Lagos.

Ajibade made the announcement while delivering a lecture on: “The New Senior Secondary Education Curriculum in Nigeria: Implications for Assessment”, at WAEC’s monthly seminar.

She said that the initiative was in line with the Nigerian Education Research and Development Council (NERDC’s) new secondary school curriculum which came into effect in 2011.

She said that examination on the additional subjects would begin in 2014 May/June West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

Reacting, the immediate past President, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, Lagos State Chapter, Mr Ayo Shonubi, said that the initiative was a bold one.
Shonubi said that some past policies failed because of poor implemented and non involvement of teachers. He therefore called for a fast implementation.

He said that effective implementation would facilitate Nigeria’s technological development.

Mr Godwin Uwagbale, the Principal, African Pride Empowerment Empire, an educational non-governmental organisation, said that the additional subjects would expose students to more knowledge on technology.

He urged that schools be properly equipped to effectively teach the subjects which, he said, required much practical.

“This is the reason secondary schools need to be well funded, especially government-owned ones; that also requires that private school owners must upgrade their facilities,’’ he said.

Mrs Bolanle Bakare, Proprietress, the Hollies Schools, Egbe, Lagos, described the development as a step in the right direction.

She said that quality education demanded continuous learning and regular review of curriculum.

The Proprietor, Children Fund for Education and Scholarship Trust (CHILDFEST), Mr David Ejeagba, said that the added trades subjects would boost skill acquisition.
“The technical subjects would reduce the rush for white collar jobs, thereby reducing unemployment,’’ he said.

However, Mr Tunde Owofade, Coordinator, Holy Family Schools, Ikotun, Lagos, was of a different opinion as he said that unstable electricity supply would pose a challenge to the implementation of the policy.
“Most of the technical subjects will need power to practicalise them. How possible would that be when electricity supply is unstable?’’

He added that schools in rural areas would not be able to key into the policy since power supply was worse there.

A parent, Mr Bona Akuiwu, suggested that the number of subjects be reduced to avoid over labouring students.

A Student of Hollies School, Egbe, Miss Deborah Matthias, lamented that there was not enough time for candidates for this year’s WASSCE to study the additional subjects.

Computer Studies, Insurance, Store Management and Office Practice are the four new subjects in the electives category in the new curriculum.

Subjects in the Trades category include Salesmanship, Photography, Painting and Decorating, Plumping and Pipe Fitting and Upholstery.

Under the new directive, candidates will be required to take four core subjects – English Language, General Mathematics, Civic Education and Trade/Entrepreneurial Studies. While candidates will also be required to choose three or four subjects from Science, Technology, Business Studies and Humanities, depending on their potential and interest.

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