NECO: Parents, students fear losing out as govt raises bar | Dailytrust

NECO: Parents, students fear losing out as govt raises bar

 Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje
Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje

With the recent release of the Kano State qualifying examination results that will give students the chance to qualify for government sponsorship for the National Examination Council (NECO) examination, parents and students have expressed fear of exclusion following “massive” failure. 

Aside from the massive failure, the government has also modified the criteria for qualifying for sponsorship, a development some parents describe as similar to changing the rules of the game while the game is ongoing. Initially, for students to qualify for sponsorship, they were expected to score credit marks in seven subjects, including mathematics and English, but the new provision adopted by the state now requires that for a student to qualify for the state’s sponsorship, they must possess nine credits from the qualifying examination. 

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It was also gathered that the result, which was released few days ago, came just few days to the closure of registration of NECO, which makes the time too short for parents of students who do not have the nine credits in the qualifying examination to source money to register their wards. 

Daily Trust reports that parents and students in the state also had a similar challenge last year when the state jerked up the qualification for sponsorship to seven credits, including mathematics and English, from its original five-credit criteria. 

Findings revealed that officially NECO charges N21,500 per candidate,  while the school charges include other logistics which bringsthe registration fee for each student to between N23,500 and N25,000. 

Like most of the schools in the state, Daily Trust investigation revealed that at Tarauni Secondary School within the metropolis where 475 students sat for the qualifying examination, only three qualified for the state’s sponsorship, meaning that 472 will have to pay for themselves to be able to sit for the NECO exams. 

According to one of the teachers in the school, who asked not to be named, the scenario is so pathetic that most of the students cannot pay the required amount to register, adding that their inability to sit for the examination may be the end of their educational pursuit. 

He feared that only few would be able to repeat the class next year, stressing that such incidences usually resulted in many of them abandoning school because they had no certainty that they would be able to get the sponsorship the following year. 

It was also gathered that girls’ secondary schools in the state are the worst affected by the massive failure, as less than five per cent of the students that took the examination in such schools qualified for the state’s sponsorship. 

The scenario is virtually the same across the state. Sources at the Kano Education Resource Department (KERD) revealed that over 95 per cent failed the qualifying examination this year based on the new criteria introduced by the government. 

Parents fault government, fear timing will  make wards miss out 

Many parents, who spoke with our reporter said they strongly believed that the massive failure was a deliberate attempt by the state government to shy away from its responsibilities. 

They also said the timing (for the release of the results) was also very wrong as they were now left with almost no other option than to either take loan  to register  their wards for the exams or watch their children waste another year. This, they added  may result in some of their children abandoning their educational pursuit. 

Malam Idris Bello Tsamiya is a father of two children who failed the qualifying examinations. According to him, he does not have the N50,000 needed to register them. He said the situation was made worse as the time was too short for him to seek loan to register them for the exams. 

“Parents are left confused. I am afraid that the stand taken by the Kano State Government will only add to the number of school dropouts we have in this region, as well as increase the number of out-of-school children which we all know will not be good for the state and the nation,” he said. 

“One of my two children who sat for the qualifying exams got seven credits and the other got six credits. They all have English and mathematics and yet they said they failed the qualifying exams as they couldn’t get all the nine subjects, and that means they will not be sponsored to write NECO. I don’t have the N50, 000 to register them and I don’t even know where to get a loan even if I wanted to take one.” 

‘My mother took from my sister’s wedding savings for my registration’ 

A student of Government Girls Secondary School, Giginyu, Binta Saeed, said she got five credits, including English and mathematics, in the qualifying examination, but that under the new directive introduced by the government she had not qualified for the state sponsorship. 

She told our reporter that her mother had to take N23, 500 out of the money set aside for her elder sister’s wedding to pay for her NECO registration. 

Binta said her mother wanted her to be a doctor and that stopping at this point might be the end to fulfilling her mother’s dream. 

However, Muhammad Gambo is not as lucky as Binta  because his father could not afford to pay his registration fees after failing the qualifying examination. 

The boy told our reporter that he had made up his mind to learn a trade since he could not afford the fees. According to him, he has already given up on taking the NECO examination since neither him nor any of his relatives have the means to pay for it. 

Commenting on the issue, Professor Muhammad Bello Shitu of the Faculty of Education, Bayero University Kano (BUK), said the delay in the release of the qualifying examination was unwarranted and miscalculated, adding that the result ought to have been out in good time to allow parents to fully prepare for payment or otherwise. 

According to him, the review of the policy that every student must get nine credits was also faulty as even universities had pegged entry requirements to five credits, adding that such review will only make educational development in the state very unrealistic. 

He, therefore, urged the state government to, in the interest of justice and fairness,  rescind the policy or adopt other measures such as give subsidy to students that failed the qualifying examination under the new policy to be able to write the NECO examination. 

The educationist further said that the review of the policy of the state government was totally in contrast with the state’s educational policy of compulsory basic education, and called for a more realistic measure that would enhance education in the state. 

Professor Shitu added that depriving the students the chance to write NECO would only subject them to serious psychological trauma which would not augur well for the state.

We are talking with NECO for extension – Govt 

When contacted, the spokesman of the Ministry for Education, Malam Aliyu Yusuf, said that contrary to what was trending in the state, there was nothing like mass failure in the qualifying examination in the state. 

According to him, what happened was that there was  a review of government policy on the number of credits that each student is expected to get before qualifying for state sponsorship. 

Malam Yusuf explained that the review entailed that a student must pass all the nine subjects with credit before qualifying for the sponsorship ,adding that it was this review that made the public believe there was massive failure. 

He further stated that following the late release of the results of the qualifying examination, the ministry, in collaboration with the state’s KERD,, was working towards possible extension of the NECO registration deadline to enable parents willing to register their wards for the examination to source for the money and do so.


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