With 14 per cent pass and 86 per cent failure at the just-concluded 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, divergent views have been expressed by stakeholders as to what led to the poor performance by the candidates.
While some said it was a reflection of the state of education in the country, some blamed a number of factors for the situation.
The development elicited different responses when the question, Concerned Educators and Parents, how do you feel about the released 2021 UTME results of your wards? Is this year’s UTME a true reflection of the Nigerian education system? was posted on an online education platform, Concerned Parents & Educators, CPE.
For Olushola Agbalu, parents should not feel bad over the mass failure of students in the just- concluded UTME.
His words: ”I believe this is the first time in so many years that JAMB conducted examination and gave a true and fair view of the academic performance of the students.
Let us not discourage the examination body, but instead, I appeal to all schools to give quality teaching, commensurate with the fees being paid by parents and going forward, let the school examination result be the true performance of the students. Any student who fails should be allowed to repeat the class instead of pushing them to the next class in order to prevent their withdrawal from the school by the parents.”
Collaborating Agbalu’s view, another stakeholder, Babajide Ajayi, explained that the focus of the youths on social media rather than on their studies, was the reason for the mass failure in this year’s UTME.
“The truth of the matter is that students in Nigeria do not prepare and study appropriately for exams again but exhibit outright laziness and only interested in carrying around iPhones, iPad and some other expensive phones.
“They occupy their time and mind with streaming of irrelevant stories on social media. Social media has ruined the lives of many students in Nigeria,” he said.
JAMB is responsible
“JAMB is responsible for students’ mass failure,” was the lamentation of a mother, whose three children wrote this year’s UTME despite scoring above 200. She believes they would have done better if there were no irregularities.
According to Mrs Gbemisola Abodurin: “I have three daughters that wrote UTME last year with the following scores: 293, 262 and 224. None of them was given admission to study their desired courses. They sat for another exam this year only to score 263, 206 and 224 respectively despite their rigorous studying, and the three of them sat for it at different centres.
“Why the drastic reduction if not wickedness from JAMB? They felt bad but I had to encourage them.”
For a tutorial centre owner, Bolaji Kayode, the results were not encouraging.
Her words: “I have a tutorial centre, I have never seen terrible results like this before.
“80% of my students always scored 200 and above. This year, I have counted 200 and above, not up to 30 students, just one scored 318, about 10 of them scored above 250.
“Sincerely, something is wrong somewhere. I’m not happy at all. I believe in my students and they were well trained.”
System and network failures
Expressing dismay over the poor performance of her sister in 2021 UTME, Suliamon Saheedat said: “I feel so sad with this year’s UTME. My sister’s computer went off before she could even finish attempting the questions and she has been scored 178.
“This is after they were told they will receive message for make-up exams only to be told last weekend that the exams were only meant for people who couldn’t use the system from beginning due to error and not the people whose system went off in the process of writing the exams.
For Abdullahi Abdulateef: “Truly, some things don’t just add up and also, there are some germane issues which need to be looked into and bring about justice for the candidates concerned.
“For instance, one of my students couldn’t write the exam at the University of Ilorin, CBT centre just because the centre provided 230 computer systems instead of 250 for the particular batch.
“Those remaining 20 students could not write the exam and all measures to make sure JAMB rescheduled them for another day were unsuccessful. Issues like this need to be justly attended to.”
Questions outside syllabus set
In addition to the hitches that occurred during the exam, there were allegations of JAMB setting questions outside the syllabus given the candidates. A candidate who gave his name as Eze Anthony, his ability to read wide in Literature-in-English made him to score above 200 otherwise he would have been among those candidates complaining of mass failure.
His words:” I passed Literature-in-English and scored 229 in my JAMB. The reason for my passing Literature is because the questions were those I read from my SS 1 and not from what they told us to read.”
Is JAMB incompetent?
Association of Tutorial School Operators, ATSO accuses JAMB of incompetence. After the release of 2021 UTME results, the National President, Mr. Dotun Shodunke, alleged that the examination was full of irregularities.
“Let me state categorically, without equivocation that the UTME 2021 is the worst conducted UTME in so many years.
“In fact, it is a total charade and the Association of Tutorial School Operators, ATSO rejects it in totality.
“Every facet of the conduct of the UTME 2021 was marred by serious irregularities ranging from unnecessary frustration of candidates, extortion of candidates, serious glitches and malfunctions in computers and other equipment at the centres, multiple results, denying candidates the right to write the exam, subjecting candidates to danger and risks, etc. We have all the necessary evidence to back up our claims.”
Speaking on the mass failure, Shodunke blamed the examination body for errors in the initial results released as candidates reported getting multiple results, challenging its Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, to re-mark the scripts to prove a point.
JAMB exonerated self
The JAMB Registrar, Professor Is-haq Oloyede, said the hue over the poor performance of students in the last UTME is not only exaggerated but also misplaced.
He said the body has substantially won the war against examination malpractice, saying no amount of blackmail would deter the body from ridding the education system of the illicit act of examination syndicates.
“The future of our country depends on how far we can go to improve on the standard of education. The recent uproar on the exaggerated poor performance of candidates who sat for the 2021 UTME is misplaced.
“Nevertheless, the 2021 UTME result offers the opportunity to all of us to interrogate the quality of preparation of and facilities for candidates into the tertiary education system in Nigeria,” he said.