Parents in the country have described the second phase do the Basic Education Certificate Examination of the National Examination Council slated to hold June 28 as a scam.
About 40,000 pupils who passed the first phase of the examination into Federal Government Colleges conducted on April 26 have been mandated to write a second examination.
A civil engineer, Mr Damisi Olakunle, who spoke with our correspondent said the N1,500 scratch card the pupils were asked to pay for in order to write the examination was exploitative.
“After passing the original examination, what is second phase of the examination for? A child passed the BECE and you are asking his parents to pay another N1,500 to buy scratch card. This is after the N3,000 paid for the first phase of the examination. It is a shame,’’ he lamented.
Another parent, Mrs Nike Fasogbon, also queried the role of the Federal Ministry of Education in the examination. According to Tundun Oduwole, charging pupils N1,500 is usurping the powers of NECO.
“This initiative from the Federal Ministry of Education is curious. It looks like corruption in a clever guise. Do you know how much N1,500 for 40,000 pupils amounts to? Who is benefitting from this scam? This directive must be questioned,’’ she said.
In a phone interview with our correspondent, the public relations officer of the ministry, Mr Simeon Nwakaudu, debunked the allegations. He insisted that the whole process was in the purview of NECO.
“How can you issue what you are not conducting? It is a transparent process. It is only when they finish that they brief the ministry.
“The second phase of the examination has only been reintroduced. It has always been there. It was only suspended for about four years. It is now 70 per cent merit and 30 per cent quota, unlike before,’’ he said.
The BECE is written by pupils in the third year of the Junior Secondary School. While each state and the Federal Capital Territory conduct the examination for its candidates, the NECO handles the BECE for Federal Unity Colleges and other federal establishments.
Depending on the vendor, it was learnt that the scratch card is being sold for between N1,700 and N2,000, higher than the official rate.
However, the Registrar, NECO, Prof. Promise Okpala, has said that the second phase of the examination is necessary to fill the 24,000 carrying capacity of the colleges.
While announcing the result of the first examination, Okpala said the aim was to “get a better description of a child through multiple assessments.
“We are doing our best to ensure that everything goes smoothly with this examination. This particular examination, though small, is very sensitive because parents will never understand if anything goes wrong with their children’s future,” Okpala said. (punch)
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