If scores were horses, students would ride: if this is what the Nigerian education sector has evolved into, then horses too must be imported quickly from alien spaces and faraway countries! If this is not wise, then wisdom is truly hard to find!
The urgency of the matter is as surreal as the statistics of mass failure clambering along the corridors of the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB). In 2011, 2, 892 candidates scored above 300 in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME). Since then, scores have started to fall apart; only three candidates scored 300 and above in 2012 with the number increasing slightly to 10 in 2013; the numbers shuddering across the years, and then dropping to three this year.
If the argument of cynic spectators is to blame this solely on intellectual irresponsibility, to simply say that these cold figures are the handwriting of a non-reading generation; not for a single moment must we ignore that it is of value to examine and understand beginnings in order to grapple with the present.
In spite of numerous solid allegations of technical oversights from the Board this year, administrative irregularities, and result contradictions – all by-products of a rather anachronistic ambition towards computerisation of test processes in a time when electricity generation in the country faces dire regression; it is safe to recognize that mass failure is a phenomenon of multiple variables, as students indeed could succumb to the evil of indolence. Yet again, when a sport ground has become a breeding ground for a hive of complications, we do not expect the umpire to join in that game. No! We must demand that s/he becomes a reference point for standard, for sanity, devoid of complications; as s/he is meant to be.
It is an act of cowardice and an unfair suppression of the corrective will of a people to persist in seeking purely speculative notions at the Nigerian student in order to justify the disfigurements that have evidently taken over an Examination Board—like a country—over the years.
It is a get-out, and all it does is bind progeny to a climate of fear. It is, therefore, important that an Ombudsman Panel be created by JAMB in collaboration with the federal government to rectify emanating issues.
The Voice of Students is the Voice of God!
Oyin, 21, is a Nigerian poet, essayist, and alumnus of Babcock University, Nigeria. He can be reached at [email protected]