Candidates of National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE) held July 7, 2018 in most Akwa Ibom State public primary schools were purportedly forced by school authorities to cultivate school farms as a condition to enter the exams hall, Straightnews has gathered.
A visit to Government School, Afaha Ube Itam in Uyo by our correspondent revealed that primary six pupils were, on the orders of the headmaster, cultivating the school farm instead of being in class to read and prepare for the exams.
Blessing Udoma, one of the pupils, who spoke to Straightnews, said “I am tired of working. Look at how dirty my hands are. I have been working since morning with no rest. They asked us to plant waterleaf.”
Another pupil, one Peter said “We are supposed to be in the class studying and preparing for our exams tomorrow but the headmaster said that if we do not work in the farm, he will not allow us to enter the exams hall tomorrow. If we refuse to do it, they will punish us.”
The story was the same in other public primary schools visited by our correspondent.
Grace Paulinus Etim, Headmistress of Government School, Mbiabam Usenten in Ibiono local government area of the state, explained to Straightnews that the farming activity was part of the pupils’ practicals in Agricultural Science.
Etim, however, said that it was the last day the pupils would be seen in school and that they could not be allowed to leave without working for the last time in farm. She also explained that the school could not afford to pay for the work to be done.
“It is part of their practical in Agricultural Science. We will not see them again after today so they must work so that they can learn for the last time before they leave. They have been studying other days. Working just these few hours will not make a child to fail exams.