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Denying NECO certificate holders university admission, uncalled for



REPORTS about some Nigerian universities refusing to offer admissions to aspiring undergraduates with NECO results have been in circulation over the years.

UNTIL now, the West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE), organised by  the West African Examination Council (WAEC), and the National Examination Commission (NECO) remained the primary requirements aside from possible ‘A’ Level certificates for admission into any Nigerian university for first degree programs if the required grades in subjects covering fields of study are attained, as well as crossing the JAMB cut-off hurdles.

NEVER in history had the quest for admission into university in Nigeria been an easy task. Over the decades, WAEC exams had always been hard nuts to crack, even for some serious candidates.

THIS had often led to mass failure to the worry of concerned minds and desperation on the part of university admission seekers.

TO  PROVIDE alternate grounds for this group in the academic strata, an examination organising body ran by Nigeria with equal ranking was introduced in the system, hence, the emergence of NECO in April, 1999.

THIS primarily came to plug gaps in frequently failed  subjects in WAEC that rankle students. The goal was to spare university and tertiary institution aspiring candidates loss of academic year.

SURPRISINGLY,  NECO seems to be losing steam on its recognition as part of  O’Level requirements for admission following over the years.

AGREED that there could have been lapses in the process of the NECO exams, the short falls should not entirely negate achieved goals and blur the progress already made since its advent.

THIS is premised on the fact that nearly no examination is foolproof. Neither the WASCE nor the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) nor  Universal Tertiary and Martriculation Exam (UTME) can be said to be immune from malpractice acts yet, they have continued to confront their challenges to put their certificates and parent  bodies on firm grounds and drive academic progression in the educational system. They have continued to build from their challenges, implying that there is room for improvement in the sector.

IN 2018, there were concerns on possible hacking of NECO exam portal. There were also concerns over the existence of magic centres which leveraged on lapses associated with the process to secure good results for some  candidates.  This had triggered arguments for the scrapping of the board and its examinations.

HOWEVER odious the conducts of examination may look, it flies in the face of reasoning that positives from the process will be buried with the flaws and tagged ‘flop’. This may simply be  throwing the baby away with the bath water. Apparently, the development only affirms that there are rooms for improvement and could be tactically tackled.

CONSIDERING the rising number of possible WAEC retakers every year and the pressure this spillover puts on the West African sub-regional Council, WAEC, in coordinating credible examination every year, it will only amount to insensitivity to contemplate anything undermining the relevance of NECO.

STATISTICAL record credited to the head of WAEC’s National Office in Nigeria, Olu Adenipekun shows that a total of 1,590,13 candidates registered and sat for WAEC in 2019. Out of which, 64.18 per cent obtained five credits in both English and Maths, a 14.18 per cent increase from the 50 per cent that obtained  in 2018.

DESPITE this impressive outing in 2019, about 32.82 percent will be subjected to retaking WAEC if NECO does not provide alternative opportunity landing for them.

IN THIS wise, universities rejecting NECO result or a combination of NECO and WAEC results at not more than two sittings may be living in their own world.

IF NECO board is conferred with authority of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to conduct O’level examinations for candidates in Nigeria, it raises the question, whose authorities drive the actions of the institutions that deny pupils admission for possessing this NECO certificates?

IN VIEW of this, it is imperative that all elements limiting good performance of pupils in WAEC or NECO exams should be critically reexamined.

In finding answer to this, the gradual fall in Nigeria’s education standard may equally be found.

IT IS therefore strange that pupils should be subjected to victimisation for what technically is not their making.

NATIONAL Universities Commission should as a matter of necessity reconcile all inconsistencies associated with  university admissions and related issues confronting university education to provide grounds for uniformity in policy execution across all Nigerian universities.

THE idea of extending the goalpost while a match is on-going is not only bizarre but incredulous. The rules must be clearly spelt out in good time and applied to all and sundry, equally and fairly.

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