By Lawrence Adenipekun
The major reason accounting for the failure of candidates in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) is the inability of many schools to make e-learning a priority, thus making it extremely difficult for candidates to manipulate computer in the exam hall. This revelation came from the Chief Learning Officer of Mandate Private Schools, Akesan, Igando, Lagos, Rev. Sunday Attah. This, according to him, arose from the failure of many schools to anticipate the introduction of computer- based exam in the country. His words: “The reason our students pass UTME excellently well every year is because we were able, far back as 2008, to predict the introduction of computer-based examination in Nigeria and we immediately made e-learning from primary school to SS3 a top priority.
At a forum in South Africa in 2008 which I attended and was organized by the Nigeria based Accelerated Learning Group, we did a 5- year projection on educational development where we predicted the adoption of computer-based examination in Nigeria given our assessment of the situation in other parts of the world. There and then I decided to introduce computer–based examination in my school which I implemented on returning to Nigeria from South Africa .Thus, students of Mandate Private Schools were already doing computer-based examination even before JAMB introduced it.
The first step we took was to transform our SS1-SS3 classes to e- learning classrooms. Each of the students has laptop and teachers’ notes are transferred to students’ laptops through wireless devices. We have given ourselves a time frame to introduce the intensive ICT education to our primary section, which will make pupils/students from Primary 1 to SS3 computer literate and internet friendly. These pupils and students are taught by competent computer teachers in the use of word processing, multimedia, internet, e-mail, desktop publishing, networking and computer aided designs.
Their familiarity with computer gives them emotional and psychological stability in the JAMB-conducted computer-examination. This accounts for the high figure of about 95% of our students who gain admissions to various universities every year. I must quickly add that the reason for the failure of many students across the country in the examination is their lack of exposure to computer from their secondary schools. Expectedly, such students will lose self-confidence in the examination hall. Any student who is jittery in the examination hall as a result of his or her inability to operate computer will fail woefully.’’
This claim of overwhelming success in the UTME, says the school proprietor, is underscored by the large number of the school’s former students who have graduated as well as those who are presently studying in different universities around the world. The list of these undergraduate students, according to him, include Aminat Abolade who is studying Medicine at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; Bola Owate also studying Medicine in the University of Lagos; Favour Attah is reading Management Information System at Covenant University, Ota, Ogun state, and Ashifor Oghene who is studying International Relations and Diplomacy at the University of Benin.
The Chief Learning Officer continued: “We also have Jerry Ogwo and ‘Kemi Omotade both of whom are studying Medicine in the University of Ukraine. Emmanuel Ichebi is reading Electrical Engineering at the University of Agriculture, Makurdi while David Ogwo and Ebenezer Chiazor are studying Computer Science and Electrical Engineering respectively at Covenant University. On their part, Praise Attah and Laurel Chiazor are students of International Relations and Economics respectively at Benson Idahosa University, Benin City while Adnan Mojeed is reading Aeronatic Engineering at the University of Ilorin.