In the history of Arabic as a subject in JSS 3 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), Arabic has never been rubbished the way Oyo State Ministry of Education rubbished it yesterday Monday, 25th July, 2022 in the ongoing JSS 3 Government BECE. This has compelled Muslim school owners, Arabic teachers, students in JSS 3, stakeholders in education, concerned citizens of the state and parents to lament bitterly over the Arabic questions written with poor and illegible handwriting in the ongoing Oyo State JSS 3 BECE. The questions laced with multiple ERRORS. Experts in Arabic will find reading it difficult not to talk of JSS 3 kids. The questions really belittle our Pace Setter State, Ajise bi Oyo laari.
Oyo State Ministry of Education in this 21st century and computer era cannot type Arabic BECE questions with computer/laptop 💻 but with illegible handwriting! This is disgusting, annoying, irritating, saddening, disheartening, frustrating and provoking. It is sending bad signal to the concerned stakeholders that it was a deliberate attempt to kill Arabic in public and private schools in the State and discourage Muslim students from offering the subject! Some schools didn’t even write Arabic yesterday while those who wrote it did so by instructing their Arabic teachers to read out the unclear questions with extra stress to the candidates in the examination halls. It was a pathetic situation yesterday at various schools. This is not a standard way of conducting school examination let alone government examination like JSS 3 BECE!
This is happening in Oyo State where we have a lot of Arabic experts! This is happening in Oyo State where we have a lot of expert Arabic typists! This is happening in Oyo State where University of Ibadan runs Arabic as a course! This is happening in Oyo State where we have a lot of public and private colleges of Education running Arabic as a course. This is happening in Oyo State where we have a lot of madaris (Arabic Schools) like: Mahadul Arabi An-Naijiri, Elekuro, Madrasatud-Da’wah, Olohunsogo, Mahadul Muflihin, Muslim, Mahdu Najah, Muslim, Kulliyatu Imam Malik, Jegede, Darul Hadith, Gbagi among other thousand Arabic schools in Iseyin, Kishi, Shaki, Eruwa, Igboora, Oyo Town, Ogbomoso and Ibadan.
We will only be flabbergasted if English and French questions slated to hold on Thursday, 28th July, 2022 are typed. English and French questions must not be typed as well. They must be produced in illegible and poor handwriting like their Arabic counterpart.
Whether English and French questions are typed or not on Thursday, 28th, 2022, that is not our concern as it affects all. We are much concerned about Arabic now.
We thus have the following demands URGENTLY from Oyo State government and Oyo State Ministry of Education:
1. 2022 Arabic BECE questions written yesterday Monday, 25th July, 2022 must be cancelled. New Arabic questions neatly typed must be provided and students re-write it. If Cultural and Creative Arts (CCA) as a subject could be cancelled that same yesterday because of errors, Arabic with multiple ERRORS was in best position to be cancelled and rescheduled.
2. Subsequently, Arabic examinations must be neatly typed and edited. It must be given to experts to vet. Grammatical and spelling errors should not occur again.
3. Arabic should not be looked down upon in any examinations. It should be accorded its honour as an international language of repute. It should not be seen as problem of Muslims alone.
4. Public apology should be tendered from Oyo State Government and Oyo State Ministry of Education to the public on psychological torture subjected students to yesterday and for rubbishing a subject thousands if not millions of Oyo State Muslims hold in high esteem.
5. Muslim bodies like AMIS, MUTAN, NATAIS etc. should be consulted in order to have superb and error free Arabic examinations subsequently.
We hope Oyo State government will yield to our polite demands on time and do the needful. We are seriously watching. We come in peace. Thanks
Rasheed Haashim graduated from Arabic Department, University of Ilorin in 2005. He is a teacher of Arabic and Islamic Studies.