Who was it that sold the idea to Nigerian government that one must pass English and Mathematics with a credit at O levels before one is qualified to go to any tertiary institution. It is not enough to credit all ones core subjects, one has to work extra hard to credit almighty Mathematics and very broad but friendly English.

One won’t be surprised  if that decision was taken by some people who were untouched by their actions because they had already passed through the system some decades ago. And whose children cannot be touched by this wicked policy because they are schooling abroad.

How many of us would have qualified for university education if this system was enforced in the 70s through 90s? During our time, only students in science related courses and Social Sciences were expected to credit Mathematics. Even with this categorization, it was a hurdle to education for social science students who had to burn the midnight candle to scale through with a credit. It was such an obstacle to  social science students who suffered unnecessary delays, trying to make up for Maths, rewriting in external exams for several years until they finally made it.

Without doubt, ‘na condition dey make crayfish bend.’ Almighty Maths, the havoc and devastation you have caused. In the quest to credit Mathematics, so many schools have done unwholesome things. The motto appears to be; ‘we must credit maths by crook or by chance’.

Students, parents and guardians are all guilty of the conspiracy. A majority of parents are willing to pay a token to ensure their children credit Maths. Some parents outrightly pay for the token which is usually demanded in a coded language. While in some cases, the students make the arrangements themselves.

So much like magic centres, some of these schools incorporate payment for exam malpractice inside the final year students’ fee. A parent said she vehemently refused to pay any fee to aid in exam malpractice. “I want my daughter to be able to defend her result anywhere,” she said.

The desperation to credit Maths by every means has given birth to so many ills. Many supervisors who refused to co-operate have been given the beatings of their life and the peace of  their lives threatened.

Last year, the rumour was rife that an unsuspecting supervisor drank the normal tea that was always served accompanied with snacks and slept all through the examination. This supervisor slept so deep that he was snoring in the exam hall, to the joy of the students.

At the end of the three hour paper- Maths, the supervisor was still deep in sleep because the sleeping tablets used to drug him had not yet worn off. His face became the most popular face in that school because most students used their phones to take pictures with him. Before finally waking him up and chattering Keke NAPEP for him.

Another scenario is where the students co-operate with each other to credit a certain paper. This is a lesser evil but it is still cheating. In situations like this the brilliant students help their weaker classmates. A student said he almost lost his examination sheet in the course of helping others. He said he was already sweating before he found his paper.

We are teaching our children very well on how the system work. ‘If you can’t beat them, join them.’ The younger generation has become so proficient in corrupt ways. They have no confidence in what they can do. They can’t even read the notes they have, after being coached for years to pass their final exams. We think we have seen a depraved society? This is child’s play compared to the future generation.

The recent SSCE Mathematics exam written brought to the fore the fact that we are hurting ourselves rather than helping ourselves  by insisting all students must credit Maths. Parents were openly discussing how some supervisors wanted to be stubborn and  not understand for the students, the parents claimed. But that in the long run, the students prevailed. They cheated to their hearts content.

So sad, however one can’t blame parents. We all know that there are people who can’t pass Maths. What should be the fate of such a person? Should the person just waste away? Or become a trader?

Government should revisit this issue of credit in Maths if Nigeria is going to move on together. It was what paved way for examination malpractice. The older generation sees cheating as an abomination, but it has been embraced by the leaders of tomorrow while we cheer them on.

Let us do the needful.It’s so unfortunate that we burden our youth with heavy load that we could not carry in our days in the name of education. For an Arts student ‘wetin concern agbero with overload?’ Our leaders are just like the religious leaders of Israel who burdened the Israelites with doctrines and traditions which were overbearing and which they themselves didn’t keep. The end result is that so many promising youths are languishing because they didn’t credit Maths and there’s no hope of them ever making it except they cheat.

How many good children will this draconian rule turn bad before the government will do something? How many promising youths will resort to drugs and vices like drug addiction before the government will know their educational policies are frustrating our youth?          It’s time to have a rethink.

Not passing Mathematics does not make me dull. A student can be very good in other subjects but poor in Maths. Does it mean they should be disqualified from going to the university? I believe one is only a failure in Mathematics if he can’t do plus and minus and a little multiplication in naira.

Revisit our policies or we will continue to have round pegs in square holes or vice versa; our educational certificates will still not be respected outside our shores; and the number of deliquents will continue to grow.

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