We cannot easily forget that a massive failure was recorded last year in the annual JAMB (UTME) examinations, particularly in northern Nigeria. This, for many reasons, had sparked different theories attempting to answer the question; Why?
Earlier this week, I discussed with a friend of mine, Ahmad, who believes that the low JAMB scores were mostly due to the deteriorating reading habits on the part of the students; a negligence that has yielded academic failure, among other things.
It is also within my recollection, how, last year-barely a day after the JAMB examination results were released- a group of teenagers in a trending video gathered around a bonfire to burn a heap of the same novel, recommended by the JAMB for the exams. What point were they trying to prove by destroying those books? I asked myself.
For starters, it is pathetic to think that those teenagers did not even blame themselves for their failure but accused the exam body of ‘creating questions’ out of the syllabus or providing faulty computers. It became even more pathetic to hear people, conjure up conspiracy theories like ‘regionalism’ or ‘nepotism’ being the reason our dear northern kids failed this assessment.
For the realistic theorists, it was proposed that the massive failure couldn’t be unconnected to the fact that teenagers today spend more time entertaining themselves with television series that has plagued our media today, or spending time with peers, thereby, paying less attention to their books.
On the contray, those trying to make up excuses for them claimed that the massive failure can be blamed on the unfamiliarity of the students with computer based tests. Schools were blamed for lacking computer laboratories that should have equipped the students earlier with basic knowledge on its’ usage.
In actuality, It is ironic to think that teenagers today have woefully failed to utilize their accessibility in the digital world to their advantage at achieving academic excellence. The majority of them are active on leading social media platforms with their android phones.
The incredible digital world today has improvised for a lot of facilities and materials, like digital dictionaries, libraries, video lessons, to mention but a few. However, very few students at the secondary school level utilize the internet for educational purposes.
To tackle this, it is necessary to take a giant step by inculcating the reading culture in students. Schools need to develop techniques that would aid to inspiring students to find leisure in reading and academics in general.
Equally important, career talks helps students discover a compass that would help navigate their goals and ambitions in their various aspiring career fields. In so doing, students would develop the zeal to focus on their academics at this stage in preparation for the future.
As for the digital world, this can be manipulated to their advantage, through organising online classes and other relevant academic activities to engage them even outside school curricular activities.
To achieve these, teachers and parents need to be reminded foremost that it is in their responsibility to carry out these necessary actions to ensure that the massive failure does not repeat itself a second time as the UTME is just around the corner.