The Bauchi State Ministry of Education has said the repeating system in secondary schools, Dr. Aliyu Usman Tilde who is at helm of affairs of the Ministry made disclosure on his Facebook page on Saturday.

He said ” Due to preponderance of suggestions that repeat in senior secondary schools (SSS)be resumed, we spent some time studying the pros and cons of the matter”.

The Full Statement of the Commissioner
Bauchi: Repeat Returns to Schools Under Ministry of Education

Due to preponderance of suggestions that repeat in senior secondary schools (SSS)be resumed, we spent some time studying the pros and cons of the matter.

First, we sought to know if there was ever any circular that prevented the practice at the SSS in the past. Many retired and serving directors were asked. The answer was there was none. The closest thing we got was when boarding schools were asked not to repeat more than 25% of their student to prevent unaffordable feeding expenditure. This is more of an affirmation. Secondly, we weighed the pros and cons.

The Cons

The only disadvantages we heard were two: One, some repeated students, usually the mu-hadu-a-hall type, will opt to drop out than face the shame of repeating a class when their mates and friends, especially the girls, move ahead to the next class.

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In any case, what would the society gain from a student that can hardly write a sentence even if he is promoted to SS3? What benefit would it derive from his “zana jarrabawa” other than a dangerous ticket to become a councillor, local government chairman, a governor or president some day?

It is this particular feeling of shame that is required to motivate hard work among students. It is among the things that the lacking of which has today embedded the culture of laziness and complacency among our students. One student may drop out but hundreds of others will become motivated to work hard.

The second concerns female students. Many parents do not care about the performance of the girl child. They send them to senior secondary school to buy time before the marry them off. Repeating them a class will prolong that period.

It was the argument of one of my distant predecessors when girls were repeated at Government Arabic College, Alkaleri. The Commissioner said let the girls continue, they are not there to learn but to pass time and mature before marriage. Later, a delegation from NIPSS visited the school and the principal lamented on the issue. The NIPPS students presented the matter when they visited the Governor and the Ministry was promptly asked to allow the principal to repeat her students.

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Decades later, with our society becoming more decadent, I doubt if such kind of unmindful parents will embrace the repeat practice warmly. But why would their non-chalance be allowed to pull down the interest of the larger society?

The Pros

The advantages are countless, though. In the unanimous opinion of most teachers and school administrators, students will get more serious. They will be more punctual and attentive in class. They will start to study at home. Teachers will earn more respect. Standard of learning will rise.

In the end, the quality of SS3 students will be better. There would be fewer casualties if for any reason they are examined for a policy like SSCE sponsorship.

My Contribution

Here is what I wrote on ASUSS platform of our teachers: 👇

Table-shake on repeating woefully underperforming students

The Quality Assuarance Directorate has requested that schools resume promotion exams and repeat underperforming students.

I said you are welcome to the club. This is in line with our discussion here two weeks ago. Approved.

However, my fear is the difficulty many schools may face. They will be faced with a situation where 90% of the students will fail if standards are applied.

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What do we do in this case?

The word “woefully” I used above was meant to address the problem. As a start, we need to tamper standard with mercy. The passing mark, as a start this year, can be brought down by the school to a point that will allow something like 75% pass – or higher or lower – according to its circumstance.

From another point, common sense can be a guide. Students that cannot write even a sentence surely cannot pass to SS2 or SS3. This year we allowed the admission of every kind of student into SS1 to cushion the effect of introducing merit into boarding schools admissions I know that some could not even write their names properly. Such students need to repeat. They may drop out on their own. If they choose to remain, they will be more serious.

Let me clearly say that the school has the discretion here. However, if it fails to demote its bad students, the academic performance index of the school – the SAPI – will be very low and its administrators will score very low marks, thus affecting their retention.

Shake the table. The more the debate about an issue, the better its success in implementation.

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