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JAMB: It is time to take action

The release of the 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) results by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has sparked heated conversations nationwide regarding…

The release of the 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) results by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has sparked heated conversations nationwide regarding the alarming performance of the candidates amid the current state of education in Nigeria.

Between April 19 and 29, 2024, over 1.9 million candidates undertook the computer-based examination in an effort to secure admission into tertiary institutions across the country.

But the outcome, as revealed by the JAMB Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, during a press conference, left many parents, guardians and even students disappointed.

According to statistics from JAMB, only 8,401 candidates (0.5 per cent of the total) scored 300 and above; 77,070 (4.2 per cent) scored 250 and above and 439,974 (24 per cent) got 200 and above. The remaining 1,402,490 candidates (76 per cent) scored below 200.

The results showed a steady decline in the number of candidates emerging successful in the UTME. Example, in 2020, out of the 1.95 million that sat for the examination, only 427,156 scored above 200, representing 20.75 per cent. In 2021, 1.35 million took the examination, but only 168,613, representing 12.48 per cent, scored above 200. Another decline was recorded in the exercise of 2022, where out of the 1.761,338 that sat for the examination only 378,639 scored above 200, representing 21.5 per cent.

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The just released 2024 examination results have also exposed the fact that there is a huge problem with the education system in the country.

Firstly, the disarray in the administration of the JAMB examination is indicative of the deep-seated flaws within Nigeria’s educational infrastructure. The allocation of examination centres, for instance, has been marred by inefficiency and negligence, with many students being assigned centres far from their locations, if not outside where they live. Such logistics mismanagement not only causes undue stress and inconvenience to the candidates, but also raises questions about the competence of the authorities responsible for overseeing the examination process.

Furthermore, reports of technical glitches and malfunction at several examination centres only exacerbate the already dire situation. Students, who had diligently prepared for the examination, were in some instances left at the mercy of malfunctioning technology, jeopardising their academic aspirations and future prospects. These recurring technical issues underscore the pressing need for robust infrastructure and contingency plans to ensure the seamless conduct of examinations nationwide.

Central to the discourse surrounding the JAMB examination is the nature of the questions posed and their alignment with the prescribed syllabus. A thorough analysis of the examination materials revealed inconsistencies and discrepancies, with many questions deviating significantly from the established curriculum. This misalignment not only undermines the integrity of the examination process, but also places undue strain on students who are tasked with navigating unfamiliar territory.

Moreover, there is an urgent need for greater transparency and stakeholders’ engagement to ensure that the interests of students remain paramount in the decision-making process.

On the part of students, data from their performance trends in the past five years revealed a disturbing pattern of stagnation and regression, with a noticeable decline in overall academic achievement. This downward trajectory not only reflects the systemic inadequacies within the educational framework, but also serves as a sobering reminder of the urgent need for intervention and reform.

JAMB should provide detailed breakdown of subject-specific pass rates over the past decade to aid teachers.

Similarly, analysing state-level data at the local government level can pinpoint areas with elevated failure rates and potential causes, including the impact of digital media distractions on study habits.

All levels of government must prioritise education. The importance of qualified and professional teachers to students’ success cannot be overemphasised. Comprehensive reviews of teachers’ qualifications, remuneration and school facilities are, therefore, necessary. Regulatory oversight of private schools is crucial to uphold educational standards and create conducive learning environments because the government’s neglect of education exacerbates mass failures.

Inadequate investment results in teacher shortages, dilapidated school buildings and insufficient learning amenities.

JAMB must address technical glitches such as verification failures and power/internet issues to ensure fair examinations. Parents should also show more interest in the performance of their children as teachers alone cannot win this all-important battle.

In conclusion, the mass failure in the 2024 UTME serves as a sobering wake-up call for Nigeria to confront the systemic issues plaguing its educational system. From logistical challenges to technical glitches and curriculum discrepancies, the crisis facing the JAMB examination demands a comprehensive and concerted response. It is incumbent upon policymakers, educators and the civil society to work collaboratively towards implementing meaningful reforms that prioritise accessibility, equity and excellence in education. Only through collective action can Nigeria hope to build a brighter and more prosperous future for its youths and, by implication, the country.


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