Abolish exams, Professor Jegede urges African universities

By Kodjo Adams, GNA

Accra, Oct. 23, GNA – Emeritus Professor
Olugbemiro Jegede, the Foundation Vice Chancellor of the National Open
University of Nigeria has called for the elimination of examination in the
educational system in Africa.

Prof Jegede said the system affects the
continents goal of achieving quality education, suggesting that the education
system in Africa must have an inbuilt way of continuous assessment of students
and build up the portfolio for effective teaching and learning.

He made the call in Accra at a three-day
International Conference on Open, Distance and Electronic-Learning organised by
the University of Ghana, Legon.

The conference held under the theme: “Meeting
Quality Education through Open, Distance, and Electronic-Learning”.

He called for a radical reform in Africa’s
educational curriculum, stressing that university learning in Africa should be
more inclusive, effective and efficient to meet the needs of society.

Prof Jegede said through my years of
experience in teaching at the secondary and university levels, “I have seen
that the major purpose of teaching and learning was to pass examinations”.

He said Africa’s examination afforded students
with the ability to memorise facts and repeating them to meet the desires of
the examiners, limiting the thought and creative abilities of the students.

He said examinations should be abolished
because it kills the creative power of the students, encourages cheating and
makes all learning theoretical and geared towards passing exams.

He said African examination system has failed
to asked students to relate what they have learnt to what the outside world
needs, adding that most of the curriculum are more of content based at the
cognitive level, neglecting the skills and competency of students.

Prof Jegede urged African leaders to
emancipate from mental slavery and learn from the experiences of Singapore for
abolishing examinations in the primary and secondary levels.

“Singapore has started eliminating
examinations in their system, they do not conduct exams in the primary and the
secondary level and are moving on to the tertiary levels.

“They make sure that their students studied
courses that could be related to the current environment,” he added.

He said technology would increasingly dominate
domestic, economic and social life and an increase in demand for constant
communication and use of telecommunication in the 21st century.

“For Africa to achieve its dream of being
prosperous and a healthy continent, the leaders must re-focus on using
education as the fundamental and virile instrument for continental, regional
and national development,” he said.

He called for a clear relationship between a
country’s institutional governance frameworks, as well as the economic progress
and education in ensuring holistic development.

Prof Jegede urged Africa leaders to embark on
knowledge generation with emphasis on open, distance and electronic learning
research and initiatives for sustained development.

He called for the scrapping of age limit
associated with employment, particularly the teaching profession, saying that,
making the age the criteria for hiring and maintaining people would retard
development.

Prof Kwame Offei, the Pro-Vice Chancellor,
University of Ghana, said education plays a critical role in the socio-economic
development of any country and has been a means through which nations empower,
develop and build capacities of individuals, institutions and communities.

He said distance education has become more
popular in the country, as more public and private universities use distance
education to extend access to many qualified students for whom it would have
been impossible to have university education due to work and geographical
locations.

The Pro-Vice Chancellor expressed optimism
that the conference would address pertinent challenges confronting distance
education and suggest solutions to addressing them.

GNA

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