The Foundation Vice Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria, Emeritus Professor Olugbemiro Jegede, 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 was 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 his 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”.
According to him, 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 argued that 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.