2024 UTME: Reversing UTME mass failure

NIGERIA’S hollow education bubble has burst. This blew open on April 29 when the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board released the results of the University Matriculation Examination. The results showed that 76 per cent of the candidates who sat the 2024 UTME scored below 200. Instantly, furious reactions greeted the performance with stakeholders expressing their concern in various ways. Besides the wave of emotions, the reactions should trigger short- and long-term strategies to reverse the shabby outing of the leaders of tomorrow.

According to JAMB Registrar, Ishaq Oloyede, while over 1.9 million candidates sat the examination, which took place in all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, only 1,842,464 of the candidates had their results released. Oloyede noted that “8,401 candidates scored 300 and above; 77,070 scored 250 and above; 439,974 scored 200 and above, while 1,402,490 scored below 200.”

With 76 per cent recording less than 200 out of 400 or less than a 50 per cent score, most candidates are not ready or fit for university education. In a competitive world, that is a huge setback for Nigeria. Nigerian universities rank very poorly among their continental and global peers. If these poor candidates are admitted into the institutions next session, their ratings might crash further.

The system falsely finds relief since some tertiary institutions may still schedule post-UTME for candidates seeking admission into their institutions. This is not enough: the foundation itself is impaired.

The UTME is usually based on four subject combinations with each subject marked over a score of 100.

Though students are at liberty to choose their subject combination in line with their choice of courses of study, the Use of English is compulsory for all students who wish to be admitted into the country’s tertiary education system.

Over the years, JAMB – and probably a society that has lost its values – has lowered the cut-off mark for admissions. JAMB and stakeholders have reduced the cut-off mark to 180 out of 400. This has entrenched mediocrity in the system.


But the university is a place of excellence, where the best gets better, not mass vocational centres. By crashing the cut-off mark below 200, excellence has been compromised. This should be immediately reversed and all those who score below 50 per cent should not be admitted from this exercise.

Parents, educators, candidates, and other stakeholders have continued to drive conversations on what could be the possible causes of the mass failure reported this year.

Social media addiction and fraud seem to have taken the centre spot of the blame game. The country is gradually slipping into a state of moral decadence where young people no longer see education and even hardwork as the pathway to a successful life.

Over time, the failure of all the tiers of government to adequately invest in education has continued to contribute to mass failures in examinations and poor academic performances. Most states do not have sufficient teachers, school buildings are dilapidated, and lack basic learning amenities and other aids.

JAMB itself cannot be absolved of blame. There were multiple reports of technical glitches during the examination. Failed verification, epileptic power supply, poor internet connection, and poor service delivery by some operators of Computer Based Centres. Some candidates could not complete their papers because the computers locked them out early. This ought to be corrected.

Government at all levels must reverse this awful trend. Sufficient attention must be paid to education. An unhappy teacher cannot train successful students and no society can grow beyond the level of its education sector. Parents and guardians must work with teachers to ensure that the future of the younger ones is safe. Society should stop glorifying fraud and make it seem the right way to break through in life.

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