During a House of Representatives plenary session on Thursday, a bill calling for the repeal of the National Examination Council (NECO) Act CAP N37, Laws of the Federation was introduced and passed through its second reading.
The bill proposes the repeal of NECO and the establishment of the National Examinations Council to make the National Common Entrance Examinations (NCEE), the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), and the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (Internal) (SSCE) (1) compulsory for every Nigerian child.
The bill’s sponsor, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, who represents the Owan federal constituency of Edo State, argued that the amendment was necessary to make NECO more competitive and in line with global standards.
He said: “Mr. Speaker, Honourable colleagues, the urge to repeal the old Act is an idea borne out of the need to strengthen the National Examination Council to enable it shoulder the burden of delivering, not only standard examinations that are competitive in nature, but also to meet with the best practice the world over.
“Subsection 7 (c) should be amended to read: “the general control and conduct of the National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE) which shall be mandatory for all Nigerian pupils in the final year of their primary education who seek admission into the Federal Government Colleges and other allied institutions; and every Nigerian child resident outside Nigeria who desires to register and sit for the said examination.”
“Alteration of Sections 7 and subsections (d) and (f) by replacing “Suleja Academy” with “Federal Government Academy, Suleja” and replicating the same wherever Suleja Academy appears in the Act.
“Alteration of Section 7 subsection (g) by striking out “Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination” and inserting “Basic Education Certificate Examination”; and replicating the same wherever Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination appears in the entire Act, the explanatory note(s), the schedule thereto and all other relevant parts.
“Amendment in the entire structure of section 7 subsection (g) to read: “the general control and conduct of the Basic Education Certificate Examination which shall be compulsory for all Nigerian students in the final year of Junior Secondary School in Federal Government Colleges, Federal Government Academy, Suleja, all public and private secondary schools in Nigeria; and every Nigerian child resident outside Nigeria who desires to register and sit for the said examination in line with the objectives of the National Policy on Education.”
“Amendment of section 7 sub-section (h) to read: “the general control of the conduct of the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (Internal) which shall be compulsory for all Nigerian students in all Federal Government Colleges, Federal Government Academy, Suleja, all public and private secondary schools in Nigeria; and every Nigerian child resident outside Nigeria who desires to register and sit for the said examination.
“Amendment of section 7 subsection (h) to remove in total, the clause “without prejudice to the existing powers and functions of the West Africa Examinations Council” in section 7 subsection (h) and everywhere the clause appears in the remaining parts of the Act, the explanatory note(s), the schedule thereto and all other relevant parts.
“The addition of new sub-subsections in the section 7 and renumbering of the entire section and subsections: The new subsections to be added are to come after (i) are: (j) organize conferences, workshops, symposia, lectures and seminars on educational assessments and other topical issues on primary and secondary education for interested stakeholders, (k) carry out accreditation of secondary schools with a view to granting them permission to write NECO-conducted examinations, (j) offer consultancy services to Federal and State Ministries and other private and public organisations/institutions in developing tests for recruitment and promotion of staff, quizzes and competitions.
“The Council in the course of its activities has encountered certain challenges that have continued to impede her ability to optimally deliver on her mandate. This amendment therefore shall definitely address the challenges and help in sustaining the development of the Council”.
The bill was adopted after receiving the approval of the majority of the members when put on a voice vote.