The Permanent Secretary, Osun State Ministry of Education, Mr. Lawrence Oyelade Oyeniran has disclosed that the Government of the state of Osun under the leadership of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, has registered and paid for over 11,000 students seeking to seat for this year’s West African Examination Council, WAEC, West Africa Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination.
His submission was contrary to report of a section of the media which reported that Osun has placed an embargo on the payment of WAEC fee for the final year students of public Secondary School in the state.
Debunking the allegation while addressing the journalists in Osogbo, Mr. Oyeniran who described Osun education policy as one of the best in the world, said the state has recorded greater achievements in education sector.
He stressed that the education initiatives and policies introduced by the current government in the state has contributed meaningfully to pupils in all the public schools across the state.
Analyzing the selection procedures and criteria adopted by government in picking those students that were paid for, Mr. Oyeniran opined that the step was taken to restore seriousness among the students, saying with the new development, the students would see greater need for them to sit tight for any examination.
Mr. Oyeniran recalled the state under the Ministry of Education had initially conducted prerequisite examination called “Mock exams” for those students in S.S.3 which according to him was aimed at selecting the best to be enrolled to write WAEC free of charge.
According to him, the criteria includes compulsory pass mark in four subjects, of which Mathematics and English were mandatory for all candidates.
He stated further, “As I am talking to you now, the State Government of Osun has paid WAEC fee for 11,394 students across the state.
“The students that benefited from this scheme are those that passed the state pre-WAEC exams known as Mock examinations conducted recently.
“This action was taken because out of the nine subjects that were written by the students, each of them must at least pass four subjects before such a student could be qualified for the government scholarship.
“Any candidate who is able to pass four papers including English and Mathematics, such candidate would be fully registered by government and as a matter of fact they have been registered.
“It is those candidates who were unable to pass English and Mathematics that their parents were asked to pay to register for the WAEC examination.
Mr. Oyeniran stated that the purpose for the exams was to build the needed confidence in the students and ensure government is only spending resources on those students who are ready to learn.
The Permanent Secretary also frowned at what he described as gross indiscipline and violation of law, saying those students that were allegedly caught while destroying government property at the Ile-Ife branch of Osun State Broadcasting Corporation should be legally punished.
“The students involved were misled in their thinking and as a matter of fact, these are the students who wrote the Mock Exams but failed to pass the required four subjects or perform as expected.
“If you look at the neighboring states, many of them are no longer registering their students free of charge for WAEC.
“What the protesting students have done was nothing but a criminal offence and they should be held responsible, prosecuted and properly dealt with for the action”, Mr. Oyeniran stated.
He debunked the rumours making the round that the government motive on the Mock Exams was to serve as discriminatory measures, saying the exams was totally conducted with utmost sincerity, transparency and accountability while the students were selected on merit.
The Permanent Secretary said the current government successfully registered students free of charge in the past five years, adding that, in 2011, over 26,000 students were registered and paid for.
According to him, “in 2012, over 32,000 students were registered. In 2013, over 34,000 students were registered. In 2014, over 36,000 students were registered and last year, over 32,000 students were registered.
He said Osun government has so far expended over N2billion on the payment of West Africa Examination Council, WAEC for Secondary School Students.