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General News of Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Source: The Median Newspaper

Poor GCE results are due to low quality of teachers - Sir Mbenkum

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The Bui Divisional Delegate of Secondary Education, Sir Asah Mbenkum Williams has observed that the poor results at the 2013/2014 GCE exams can be attributed to lack of trained teachers and above all to the unruly attitude of some students especially those at the O Levels.

Mbenkum Williams made the observation in an exclusive interview with The Median’s Nestor Ndjodzefe recently. Excerpts.

Results of the GCE exams for both the A and O levels have just been released. What is your appreciation of schools within your area of jurisdiction?

I thank you very much journalist of the Median newspaper for making this outing here to Bui. You know the Bui Divisional Delegation of Secondary Education remains very sensitive by virtue of the number of schools and by virtue of its brilliant performance at the level of the GCE.

I just want to state that the results have just been released, you the journalist are aware of the fact that the detail results were only accessed by the various candidates and we are waiting for the slips and when we get the slips and the results in their entirety we shall be able to access the position of Bui division and then we shall be able to answer your question very elaborately.

But it suffices to know that the O Level results were bad in the overall percentage and that is also how we have bad results in some schools. From the newspapers we are told GBHS Mbiame has 10% in the O Levels, Ndzeng, 7% and other results.

But that not withstanding, ST Augustine Nso, PCHS Kumbo, GBHS Tatum, GBHS Kimbo are some of the schools in my list that has given us a lot of pride. Our main school here GBHS Kumbo did not score up to 50%, I am told they have about 48% which is still above the national average. That is why we are at least fine globally.

What are the possible causes of this plummet in the performance?

The whole thing starts first by being global. It is global, it is a national drop, not only a particular drop in Bui Division, but we in Bui Division should not be in a position to exclude ourselves from this drop. You see we have a lot of staffing problems which the Minister has gradually addressed in terms of sending a big consignment of teachers here.

They sent them at the close of the academic year and they have been posted to the schools. The schools were tempted to be working with PTA teachers, some of them who were not very qualified. But I will want to lay the blame very much on the students because we are being told with proves particularly with students of the O Levels that when they wrote the Mock Exams which was a regional Mock some of them became unruly.

Some of them were not coming to school, some of them were indiscipline and the results are a reflection of that activity. If you look at the A Level, those who were quite matured, they knew where they were going to and they produced results that were better.

What measures are you put in place to mitigate the poor results and the acute shortage of teaching staff that has been a cause for concern?

I expected that question. A lot of measures will be taken. The sector conference which is holding some time at the end of this month is going to give the Ministry broad a line of action to address this situation, definitely the Minister is aware of this. And when we come back we will go back to the drawing board and we will look at the inadequacies that were raised and we will be able to do something.

Like I said initially, a majority of schools now can boast of at least trained government teachers with the over 132 teachers that were sent to this division. And so the staffing situation will be greatly ameliorated and as you can see we are scrutinizing PTA authorization, the levies and the authorization of their projects and our emphasis is on pedagogy.

We are believing more on pedagogic support, the screening of teachers that are recruited in our schools so that those results should come up. In our meetings we will tell the principals to identify the disciplines which were bad so that we can be able to improve on those results.

You know there has been some trend. When people are applying for schools in their locality, they make promises that development associations will recruit teachers and when the school is opened, they abandon it to government. This also obtains for politicians who lobby for schools to be opened.

To have 67 public schools here looks certainly so much and government has started progressively to start addressing this situation. As you see now we have graduation from ENSET Bamenda, ENSET Douala, ENS Bambili, Maroua etc. so the staffing situation will be gradually and effectively addressed.

What is your appreciation of the uncoordinated manner in which schools are created within your are of command?

The Minister and the Prime Minister appreciates the problem to open the schools. As you see the politicians step in as they do. What do we do when politics, politicians and their activities are already in our vocabulary. So we just have to manage from what the Minister and the Prime Minister does and try to do our own part as we are doing, supervising and equipping all the schools.

It is important that the bad old days when children from Kumbo had to go to Nkambe for education are now over. It is government policy to fight against povery and to bring the schools nearer to the people. It is a good policy however.

In a few weeks from now, schools will resume for the 2014/2015 academic year. How ready are you?

I did not receive you immediately because were in some of those plans. Like I told you earlier, we will have the sector conference at the regional level and the national level. The minister gives the tone for the promises of the year and when we come back, we implement them.

Like you saw, we are approving the PTA projects and collections of various schools so that the schools can go ahead and recruit their personnel. We are carrying out the programming, the handing over following the Minister’s appointment of Principals into some schools so that the new Principals can acquaint themselves with their new environment.

For the rest of the modalities, we have signed and engaged the recruitment into Forms One and we are waiting for results to come so that recruitment into lower sixth continues and so by the time schools are starting in September, we must have put everything in place. These are all routine activities which we have to carry out now with emphasis on those areas that were problematic last year.

Any last words?

I want to congratulate the students who succeeded in their exams. Those who failed I encourage them to remain steadfast and to continue for God’s plan for all of us is success.

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