• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Challenges and controversies: The future of Nigeria’s UTME results

Challenges and controversies: The future of Nigeria’s UTME results

There have been cases of parents and other stakeholders challenging the recent results from the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) for students aspiring to further their academic careers in higher institutions of learning in Nigeria. These cases have been so daunting that blame has been going around the circle of ignorance among the affected and the spectators. It is most evident that the journey to that transformation in the educational system is not something close by as some see it as a sprint while others view it as a marathon.

The pace to making the destination realistic may come with serious challenges as we have recently when the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) announced that above 60 percent of the candidates that wrote the 2024 version of this exam scored below 200 (a score below average). The uproar arose that the blame should go to the teachers while some other concerned parties developed cold feet against the curriculum about policies. Other prominent speakers against this failure attributed the performance to parental negligence of duties.

Read also: UTME: Nigerians express concern over candidates’ poor performance

All these exchanges of banters have been making the rounds and the solution will not be imminent if this continues. Some parents have decided to make their children sworn enemies- a child who refuses to heed their instructions towards reading, learning, and passing this entrance examination to the university of their choice. The claims have been that they (the students) have not done enough to be qualified entrants into the university, polytechnics, or colleges of education.

So many trades of words have taken over the insight into these predicaments. Analysts have been studying the trend and hope to find the root cause of these annual problems of failures. In a more deductive approach to evaluate the stance of these exigencies, there may be some parameters that may not be trivial to excuse: ranking from parental guidance to child delinquency. It is not exaggerated to think that the expectations from these prospective undergraduates have shot beyond the roof. That many of them take these issues with less seriousness than many adults may presume is worth observation.

Don’t we think the pressure is so much on these kids? They are so concerned about becoming the next award-winning candidates with so much encomium to follow but are not ready to burn the night’s candle. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride and we can’t continue to lower standards just because we presume it can’t be achieved. The gaze is shifted away from the most important areas of consideration but the clamour has been towards the conduct of the examination. Though there are demands on why the system is not as functional as presumed for the task, the adjustment to incorporate high-level management of technology towards handling these challenges will permit improvements.

When the system functions as expected, the candidates will be spared the excuses of faults from the computer-based test centres (CBT centres). An adequate provision, before and after the examination, will eliminate doubts about shortcomings. Mop-up tests for this aspiring group of individuals will expose them to a variety of problems that may help in plans for the proper conduct of the tests. As much as appraisals have been revealing the efforts of these centres to improve on the previous predicaments, the deployment of advanced technologies will produce better results.

On the part of the caregivers, the roles are enormous to a discount that would exempt interference of some sort on the outcome of the result. If these students would be honest, they would reveal how much impact their parents have on their success story. Their choice of school, course of study, and the competition that awaits their decision when they score less than the cut-off marks would cause an increase in devastation and frustration. When the assessment is not at par with the preparation, the outcome may be sour.

An infringement may persist if the corrections to these anomalies are superficial. A creative approach will bring all the stakeholders to terms with how meaningful their collaboration will be. A student will face a post-UTME exam to prove their skills in the suggested subjects. After a series of interviews and questions, the admission is hinged on the preferences and performances of both the admission officers and the students. Should there be a delay in the admission, alternative sources of studying can be attempted. Joint Universities Preliminary Examination Board (JUPEB), and Individual Universities Pre-Degree programs are avenues for admission into higher institutions of learning that may not be impossible.

Premium on academic excellence, as profound as it may appear to every interested student, should be handled with extreme caution. Total submission to the competitive examination will lead to extreme conditions that will warrant unimaginable consequences. There will be an increase in cases of attempts to mar the process if it cannot be manipulated. Efforts to frustrate the entire system of fairness will be intensified by unsuspected and unscrupulous attempts by some members of the public and this will in no small measure correct the system.

Olusegun Fashakin, a Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Fellow, writes in via [email protected]