Recently, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) released the 2021/2022 students results which turned out to be abysmal. According to the board, 6,944,368 applicants sat for the examination but only 973,384 passed with scores to get into Nigerian universities. This shows that only 14% passed while 86%, representing 5,970,984 students failed woefully.

This is not the first time Nigeria recorded this massive failure but this year’s result was devastating and worrying. Out of every 100 students, hardly do you find one getting the usual university cut-off marks. University cut-off points usually start from 180 points and above, except some of the newly established universities that accept 160 points.

The board which was established in 1978 to conduct entrance examination and admit students to universities and other tertiary institutions has faced multiple challenges and malpractices. I could remember in 2008 when I wrote my JAMB, someone was telling me about miracle centers in Lagos, Abuja and Kaduna where students pay a sum of N50,000 to get the required points without any challenge. Then JAMB was manual – using paper and pencil with minimal supervision in the centres. Many cases of examination malpractices and impersonations were recorded. Computer-based Test (CBT) was introduced to curtail the challenges where students need only to be biometrically verified and log in to computer and write his/her examination. The process is highly transparent and block the chances of ghost and miracle centres.

The availability of mobile phones coupled with the growing presence of social media handles like Instagram, Tiktok, Facebook and games are bringing huge distractions to students’ reading behavior. Nowadays many young ones spend more time making short videos on Tiktok than reading books. They will not read until the examination period is very close, thinking they will perform miracles to pass. Parents are the ones to blame in this respect because they are the ones that buy mobile phones and load internet data for them in the name of love and care. Its high time will regularised the social media usage among the minors, if not we will continue to have mass failures.

Desperation of some parents to get their children into universities is also playing significant role. Many can spend huge amount of money to see their children pass the exam either by bribing the teachers or hiring some people to give them answers. The strict measures put in place by JAMB became their major challenge in realising their dream.

The greediness of some teachers in some schools is also a contributing factor. Teachers are now collecting bribes from the students to pass them. My conversation with one private school teacher confirmed that teachers no longer fail students because they pay expensively to graduate with flying colors. No wonder my cousin had 7As and 2Bs in WAEC but ended up with 86 scores from JAMB!

Parents should desist from buying smartphones to their children. Emphasis should also be paid to extra moral lessons and computer training which most of our students lack. By putting these measures, the massive failure experienced in last Jamb will be averted.

Idris Mohammed, Katsina

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