• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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UTME 2022: Experts blame ASUU strike, economic hardship, others for low registration turn-out

Lower JAMB cut-off marks seen as threat to education

Experts have attributed the low turn-out of registration being recorded at the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) ongoing in Nigeria to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), incessant strike, economic hardship, and unemployment among others.

The apex examination umpire had recently expressed worries at the low turnout of candidates for UTME registration.

Ishaq Oloyede, the registrar and chief executive officer of JAMB disclosed this while inspecting the conduct of the registration process on Saturday in Kano when he said that several Computer Based Test (CBT) centres in the state witnessed low turnouts of candidates.

“We are worried because, towards the end of the exercise, you will see people clamouring for an extension when they have the opportunity to register on time,” he said.

However, Oloyede maintained that JAMB was not going to extend the registration date.

“We are not going to extend the period of the registration beyond March 26,” he stated.

Friday Erhabor, a public affairs analyst, pointed out that this could be as a result of the level of economic hardship in the country, he appealed to state governments to subsidise the cost for their students. Besides, he stressed that Nigerians are known to always wait for the dying minutes and deadlines before they start rushing.

“The economy is biting hard on average families in Nigeria. State governments should prioritise education by helping to subsidise the cost of JAMB for indigent students. Education is the bedrock of development and any money spent on education is never wasted,” Erhabor said.

Boye Ogundele, a career teacher decried the level of decadence in the Nigerian education sector. He disclosed to BusinessDay that many youth of the country are fading up with what is happening in the education sector, especially at the tertiary level.

“The youth of nowadays are saying the school is a scam. Definitely, there will be low turnout because nothing is sure even after school,” he stated.

Ogundele reiterated that many youths would rather opt to learn a trade in three years and acquire skills and later go for a part-time study.

“You cannot plan for the number of years to graduate. I am a victim of this ASUU ‘palava’. Imagine selling JAMB forms to people without hope. There is no hope for the future; many youth are itching to leave the country for greener pastures abroad. Definitely, there must be a low turnout of UTME registration,” he noted.

Read also: ASUU says Governing councils of state varsities lack capacity to negotiate with union

For Elizabeth Ohaka, a parent, what is happening in the universities is so erratic; one cannot predict when he or she can graduate in Nigeria. The ASUU strike syndrome has become a recurring incident that is crippling the sector, it is not helping tertiary education in the country. According to Ohaka, “JAMB is just one means of getting admission, hence, candidates can choose to ignore JAMB and still achieve their educational goals.”

“A lot of our students go to Ghana, Togo, and other neighbouring countries to study. For instance, some of those institutions abroad do not necessarily demand JAMB to be admitted to their institutions. Probably, the students are looking for alternative means of achieving their education goals other than going through JAMB,” Ohaka noted.

Another concerned citizen regretted the fact that after graduation, one hardly gets a job to justify his or her years and money spent to acquire the degree.

“In Nigeria, you spend thousands of naira and probably eight years to get a biochemistry degree only to go and sell shoes and/or even become an ‘okada’ rider,” he lamented.

A lady who just introduced herself as Shola and a graduate of Mass Communication from one of the federal universities said she does not see any reason one should be surprised by the low turnout of UTME registration going by what is obtainable in Nigeria today.

She cited a case of a lady in Delta State by the name Amarachi Ihezie, who according to her is a graduate of Sociology but ended up a commercial tricycle rider due to unemployment and underemployment.

“Please, let us face facts, there is no hope for upcoming youngsters, even after graduation, no job, and if you are lucky to find one, the salary is nothing to write home about. People are tired of the government and the education system,” she said.