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JAMB Result: A call to action to save our education

By Inyali Peter

The recently released Joint Administration and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for the 2024 candidates seeking admission into tertiary institutions in Nigeria should worry every patriotic Nigerian. Out of the about one million eight hundred candidates that sat for the examination, a whopping 76% scored below two hundred (200). This means that if the cutoff mark was pegged at 200 like a few years ago, only 24% of candidates would be eligible for admission if they fulfil other individual university criteria.

This development should raise questions about the quality of education in our basic and secondary schools. Is it about the unwillingness of our young kids to learn? Is it the effectiveness of our educational system? Does this poor performance reflect the quality of teachers in our school these days? Even though the questions are endless, the summary remains that it’s either the schools are not teaching the students well, or the students are not willing to learn, or perhaps it’s a combination of both.

Besides, the proliferation of private schools in our country is also a cause for concern. Most private schools charge exorbitant fees but lack the basic infrastructure and manpower to provide quality teaching. A few teachers that they have are not even deployed within their areas of expertise. At times, it’s just to bear the name that there are teachers in some subjects and that’s all.

Government schools on the other hand even though slightly better in terms of the quality of teachers, the remuneration is such that it’s always the last option for any jobseeker. The pay is simply not good enough to attract quality teachers.

Then, the students. Most of the Gen Z generation as they are called no longer see education as anything. They argue constantly on social media that education is a scam. The cliche that education is the bedrock of the nation is not for them. To them, there’s no motivation to take education seriously because, after school, there’s no guarantee of a job or a better life. So, some just go to school to fulfil all righteousness or to satisfy the demands of their parents.

The issues with the education system in Nigeria are multifaceted. There’s also the case of overloading students with too many subjects which ultimately lead to loss of focus. There’s enough distraction already with new technologies like social media, etc., but instead align the outdated curriculum to contemporary times, as the world is talking about artificial intelligence and robotics, Nigerian schools are still talking of amoeba, butterflies, botanical names and many other not-too necessary things.

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Similarly, it is also evident that the monitoring and evaluation department of the Ministry of Education at all levels is not functioning effectively. In the past, the mere mention of a team from the ministry would send headmasters and principals into a frenzy, but that’s no longer the case.

Again, why should the monitors and evaluators even bother when they know that the quality of teachers in our schools is a significant issue? This is why I supported Dr Stephen Odey’s initiative to screen and rescreen SUBEB teachers, despite initial reservations about his approach. It’s crucial to have quality teachers in our schools, regardless of how beautiful the infrastructure may be. Unfortunately, the teaching profession no longer attracts the best brains due to poor salaries and working conditions.

To address these issues, I recommend that the government and private school owners should improve the quality of teachers through training and development programmes, invest in infrastructure, including classrooms, libraries, and technology, encourage students’ interest in education by making it engaging and relevant.

Also, there’s a need for the provision of incentives for teachers, such as better salaries and working conditions, implementation of effective monitoring and evaluation systems to ensure accountability, design and implementation strategies to encourage students to focus on education rather than just social media, etc.

We must act now to address the decline in our education system. Our children’s future depends on it.

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