New 1-6-3-3-4 Education Policy to take off soon, says minister
No going back on implementation of White Paper on universities
Minister of Education Prof. Ruqqayat Alkali yesterday said a new 1-6-3-3-4 System of Education will soon take off.
She also said the Federal Government is stepping up efforts to address mass failure in Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) being conducted by West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the National Examinations Council (NECO).
She, however, said there is no going back in the implementation of the White Paper on Visitation Panels to the nation’s universities.
The minister, who spoke at a Leadership Forum organised by the Nigerian Pilot in Abuja, said the Federal Government has created new universities for more access to varsity education by youths.
She said one-third of about 1.5million students writing Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) used to gain admission annually.
The minister said: “Really, I was against the 6-3-3-4 year but based on the outcome of the Education Summit, we realised that the 6-3-3-4 system is not our problem, the implementation is our problem.
“That was why we now reviewed the curricular. We are now introducing 1-6-3-3-4 system. We will now have one-year pre-school programme for all pupils.
“We have realised that only the children of the majority do not have the opportunity of pre-school year. So, a pupil will now start pre-school at Age five before having six years of primary education, three years of junior secondary school, three-year senior secondary and four years of university education.”
Although the minister did not state when the new policy will take off, a source in the Ministry said: “It will be from the next academic session.”
On mass failure in SSCE Examinations, the minister said: “We are already addressing this and I believe we are going to make progress.
“When we came, the results we saw were very bad. The performance level was 10 per cent to 15 per cent. But with the last WAEC results, it was 46 per cent.
“We are working hard to improve the results but we may have to go for a number of years before we see the impact. We are working with the 36 states and in a matter of time, there will be an improvement.
“We are trying to improve the school system. Before the exit of Mr. President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, you will see a different story.”
On the reports of Visitation Panels to universities, the minister said there is no going back in implementing the White Paper approved by the Federal Executive Council.
She added: “We are tasking now the Governing Councils and Vice-Chancellors of universities to implement the White Paper of Visitation Panels. But in case they are indicted and they may not be able to implement the White paper, we have a Standing Committee that will monitor the implementation, we are doing that directly in the ministry.
“After the implementation of the White Paper, we will now conduct Needs Assessment for universities, we will have Needs Assessment Committee. We want to ensure that our money and resources are going to where they are needed.
“Some of these needs require simple school management. We will try as much as possible to see that resources are well-managed.”
Concerning continuous establishment of new universities, the minister said: “Some people can simply not understand why we are having new universities. Every year, only one-third of students writing UTME used to gain admission. We need to create access to university and other tertiary education for others.
“At the higher level, we don’t admit more than one-third but more than 50 per cent qualify. About 1.3m to 1.5m students are sitting for UTME, we do not have space for more than 500,000 of them.
“If we have 800,000 youths roaming the streets annually without admissions into tertiary level, it creates a time bomb for this country. We are creating access with new universities but quality is our priority now.” The Nation