This article aims to dig deeper into the rot currently eating our standard of education in Nigeria. In our first study, we identified many reasons for the worrying decline and also suggested some solutions. We take a closer look at the roles that the authorities are playing and how they affect the educational standards in this nation.
Firstly, we look at The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) cut-off points. CampusTimesNG provides the UTME cut-off marks for the institutions in 2021; we can see the minimum pass mark is a paltry 25% for Colleges of Education (COE). Below is a summary of the cut-off marks:
- Public Universities — 160
- Private Universities — 140
- Public Polytechnics — 120
- Private Polytechnics — 110
- Colleges of Education — 100
The cut-off marks allowed for these institutions promote mediocrity among our students. So many students are relaxed and do not put the necessary effort to study because they know that by scoring 100 out of 400, they can get admitted into an institution. The highest cut-off mark given is 160, for public universities which is 40%. It is a pity that despite the low cut-off points, about 86% of the candidates did not pass. A country that seeks to promote its educational sector and the general performance of its students should not maintain such a low standard. Although many universities’ cut-off points are different and higher than the one provided by JAMB, for example, Pan-Atlantic University, Ahmed Onibudo Street, Victoria Island, Lagos State – 210 and Covenant University, Canaan Land, Ota, Ogun State – 200; the authorities should do better.
Furthermore, it is pitiable that the cut-off mark of COE is a mere 100 out of 400. These COEs are the supposed breeding grounds for our future teachers (who are supposed to be qualified and fit to teach). They should even have the highest cut-off marks because of their importance. One of the major reasons for the decline in our educational standards is lack of qualified teachers. With the spread of UTME cut-off points, it is clear that the worst candidates get admitted to colleges of education. The best brains should be encouraged to become teachers, not the other way round. In recent times, the governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasiru El Rufai has dismissed thousands of teachers, claiming that they were not qualified and fit to be teaching in schools. The dismissals are a terrific step towards halting the decline of subpar education, but it is not the only one. The Colleges of Education and National Teachers Institute (NTI) probe should be the first stage of “cleansing.” These institutions certified the unqualified teachers as qualified and fit to teach; it is only natural that the cleansing process would begin there.
According to The Guardian, JAMB blamed candidates’ lack of preparation for the massive failure of the 2021 UTME. Some applicants who took the UTME blamed their poor performance on being given the wrong syllabus. Fabian Benjamin, the JAMB’s Head of Public Affairs and Protocol rejected these assertions. According to him, the Board made its curriculum available on three platforms to ensure that all applicants taking the exam could access it. The platforms are the Board’s Integrated Brochure and Syllabus System (IBASS), the CD that applicants received after completing the registration process, and the link https://www.ibass.jamb.gov.ng issued with the candidates’ profile code. Lack of preparation is a grievous mistake that causes many students to fail. The main culprits for this massive error are the schools and parents. Schools must ensure that the students prepare adequately for their exams. The correct syllabi must be made available; the students should also learn how to take Computer-Based Tests (CBT). The schools should not be left alone in these preparations; parents must also ensure that their children prepare adequately for their exams.
The spread of corruption across the country has only exacerbated the damage done to the country’s educational system. As reported in LIB, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, Registrar of the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board, has expressed concern about institutions awarding certificates to people who do not attend universities. On Tuesday, June 29, Oloyede warned that granting fraudulent university degrees to people is detrimental to the development of the country’s education system in his speech at the opening ceremony of the National Youth Service Corps 2021 batch B pre-mobilisation workshop in Abuja. Many individuals are unhappy with the adoption of the National Identity Number (NIN) as a pre-requisite to sit for the examination, according to the JAMB registrar, because it has reduced malpractice, particularly impersonation of applicants. Initiatives like this will unquestionably improve the educational standard of the country.