Curtailing mass failure rate among teenagers

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“Concerns rise over teaching as over nine million fail UTME in seven years.” The report revealed that the average failure rate for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination conducted by the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board over seven years stood at 78.29 per cent. Out of 11.9 million candidates who took the UTME between 2018 and 2024, about 9.17 million candidates scored below 200 (the pass mark). It is frightening.

In the report, education stakeholders attributed this poor performance to factors such as a shortage of qualified teachers, outdated curricula and distractions from social media. On the other hand, some parents, who in the past disputed the results as released by JAMB, argued that some registered candidates could not sit for the examination due to network glitches and a shortage of computer systems.

The situation is also a cause for concern for business owners as these failures have a proportionate relationship with the quality of the workforce. The data over the last seven years shows a progressive increase in the UTME failure rate. The continuous increase in failure reduces the quality and quantity of employable people.

The concern over the time children spend on TikTok, Instagram and other social media platforms is understandable. There is also an increasing craze for the Nigerian youth to become content creators which may seem illogical to some parents. However, it is important to note that limiting creative pursuits may not necessarily be the solution as there have been instances of successful individuals who have balanced both academics and content creation effectively.

Take the influencer Enioluwa Adeoluwa for instance. The 24-year-old Eni, as he is fondly called, must have mastered this balancing act. In January, he announced that he was studying for his PhD, as he reminisced on his journey on social media. By his own account, he graduated from Ekiti State University at 19, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in media and theatre, and boasting a 4.71 CGPA. While studying for his PhD, Eni continues to create content that inspires.

Furthermore, given the rapid technological advancements such as artificial intelligence, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Nigerians must guide and encourage their children to use technology for constructive purposes. For instance, generative AI tools have the potential to elevate soft skills and foster creativity, making them valuable assets for the development and growth of Nigerian youth.

Undoubtedly, the systemic issues within the education sector must be addressed. Fixing these systemic issues will take time as they have been decades in the making. Considering this, are there any short-term solutions that parents can look to, and which are somewhat within their control? If children spend too much time on mobile phones, can Nigeria leverage technology to solve this problem?

It’s worth noting that the ability to use a mobile phone does not automatically translate to the ability to use a computer. As a result, facilities such as this learning centre will play a crucial role in helping students with varying levels of digital proficiency to become better acquainted with computer-based testing.


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