EDUCATIONALLY DISADVANTAGED POLICY: BUILDING A CONFEDERACY OF FOOLS -BY OKON IYANAM

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I have never really understood the basis for the differentiated cut-off marks for various examinations in this country. Is the government saying that some people in some regions were naturally born stupid? I will not agree with that.

I attended primary school in Sokoto and wrote the Federal Common Entrance Examinations there. Almost all of us in my set made it into Federal Government Colleges in flying colours.

If the argument is anchored on the so-called “educationally disadvantaged” thesis, then someone needs to explain what exactly that means! Who made them educationally disadvantaged? Was there a deliberate policy at any point in time to exclude these areas from mainstream education? Was there no government in place in those areas and were there no budgetary allocations for the development of education?

It is difficult to understand, let alone accept, the basis of the “educationally disadvantaged” criterion.

Considering that “primary school enrollment” is an important criterion (and incentive) for revenue allocation and the “land mass” criterion is an additional revenue allocation principle, intended mainly to provide funds for several northern states to overcome the spatial challenges of development, the continued reliance on the “educationally disadvantaged” principle for setting cut-off points must be seen for what it is: a fraudulent formula for gaining unmerited access and resource advantage!

Brilliant people abound everywhere but it now seems that fools are in the majority. The policy that promotes mental laziness over diligent academic excellence is guaranteed mainly to breed a new generation of the foolish. Over time, such a people can only become a Confederacy of Fools.

Nigeria must rise above this.

The differentiated admissions policy and its supporting regime of cut-off points are inherently discriminatory. They seek to create opportunities for a few, which are not available to the majority. They are, therefore, against the very principles of the Nigerian Constitution. I feel certain that when tested in a court of law, this senseless policy will be dismissed by the jurists, with choice, even unkind, words.

I urge the Civil Society people to take this up. It will be well worth out effort.

That said, primary and secondary education are majorly within the remit of states and local governments. It is thus difficult to see how it should then be FG business to establish cut-off marks for examinations at that level as a universal policy standard.

Furthermore, will the FG also implement discriminatory cut-off marks for admissions into certain departments and faculties in our universities and, following from there, establish cut-off marks for admission into Pass, 3rd Class, 2nd Class Lower, 2nd Class Upper and First Class classifications?

There could be no educational policy more ill-conceived and more stupid than this one.

It could only have been devised by fools intent solely on building a Confederacy of Fools.

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