SSCE: Proposed Policy On Private Candidates Attracts Opposition

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The Chief Superintendent of Press and Head Lithographic Section, Mr. John Loveday (right) explaining a point to pupils of Haruk International School during an excursion visit to Rivers State Newspeper Corporation, recently. Photo: Ibioye Diama.

Mixed reactions have trailed the recent comment made by the immediate past Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Dr Tamunosisi  Gogo -Jaja to the effect that the State Government would ban private candidates from registering for the Senior Secondary Schools Certificate Examinations (SSCE) in the state.
Jaja, who said the move was geared toward checking the high rate of examination malpractices in the state had  attributed the development to the  inclusion of  private candidates alongside the regular students.
He was of the opinion that the private candidates collaborated with principals and owners of schools in the state to indulge in the examination malpractices.
However, some respondents who spoke to The Tide in Port Harcourt expressed divergent views on the matter.
The respondents were of the opinion that poor remuneration of teachers, lack of conducive learning environment and absence  of relevant teaching aids in schools were the primary causes of examination malpractices.
According to Mr Boniface Chigozie, an electrician, the former commissioner’s assumptions that examination malpractices noticed during the recent concluded SSCE in the state could not have been caused by private candidates.

Mr Chigozie opined that rather than apportioning blames to the private candidates, the various school principals  and teachers where the malpractices occurred  should be held  accountable because they were supposed to be vanguards against such acts.
Also speaking, Mr Ken Samuel Onyiyechi,a business man, also said the move  if adopted by the State Government, will deprive many adults access to further their educational pursuits.
According to him, those of them who did not have the opportunity to attend day schools but had the chance to enroll in evening lessons should not be stopped from registering and sitting for the SSCE along side regular students, adding that doing so will amount to depriving these category of persons right to acquire and further education.
On her part, Mrs. Love Todi Ibeh urged the State Government to critically address the nagging challenges facing the development of primary and secondary schools in the State with regard to shortage of teachers as well as provision of relevant laboratories that would enhance learning and teaching in secondary schools across the State.