Posted by: Adekunle Jimoh (The Nation Newspaper) No fewer than 4,200 public and private primary school pupils got a second chance to re-write the Lagos state Primary Six Placement Test into JSS1 last Saturday. They were among the four per cent who scored below 50 per cent or were absent for the examination organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Education on April 20. The examination which took place in about 24 centres across the state, was monitored by the Executive Chairman, Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mrs Gbolahan Khadijat Daodu who said the examination was initiated last year to check the influx of poor quality pupils into secondary schools. She said the 96 per cent pass in the April examination was cheering news. Ã¢â‚¬Å“All children of school age are expected to be in school from Primary 1 to JSS3 and it is compulsory for any one in primary six to sit for this exam. We came up with the idea because many people complained that the standard of education was falling. Pupils are just moved from one class to the other without any serious examination or tests,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said. She added that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not going to prevent any pupil from going to school but to ensure that only the excellent ones move to the next class. She also said other classes are not left out in Lagos state as no pupil will be promoted if he/she doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get up to 50 per cent in the internal examination. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is not only Primary Six alone; that is what we have adopted in Lagos state. Before you move from one class to the other, you have to get at least 50 per cent of the exams that you have done overall and also 50 per cent in English and mathematics. The same thing applies to this exam,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said. She said those who wrote on Saturday were given a second chance to succeed. However, she complained that some of them undermined the chance as they were absent. The SUBEB Chair said those who fail the re-sit will repeat Primary Six. However, if they fail again next year, she said they will be sent to the technical colleges. Commenting on why many school-aged children are out-of-school in Nigeria, Mrs Daodu said economic reasons force parents engage their wards in child labour. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Some of them are economic in the sense that some parents or guardians feel that they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have the means of livelihood for them (children) and can only get such means by asking them to sell wears or other items; and I think they can still do that after school hours. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Education is free, at least the first nine years in Lagos state, so no parent or guardian should deprive these children of going to school. And we are using Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation in doing a lot in this respect. The state government has passed the child right law. Enforcement is still the major problem. There is no reason for any child not to be in school,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said.