Stakeholders in the education sector have described the recent lowering of cut off mark by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for the 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Exam (UTME) as “retrogressive and unhealthy”.The stakeholders from the South East said this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria while reacting to JAMB recent pronouncements on the 2022 cut off mark for tertiary institutions.NAN reports that the 20222023 UTME cut-off mark for universities in Nigeria is 140 and above, for polytechnics and monotechnics is 120 and above and for colleges of education is 100 and above depending on the school of choice and course of study.In Imo, an Assistant Lecturer at the Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Mrs. Ogedi Ugwu, said the continuous reduction of cut-off marks would lead to poor performance in tertiary education.Ugwu said the UTME served as a tool to assess the preparedness of students for tertiary education.She said their performance in basic subject areas would go a long way in identifying the courses they were best suited for and how well they would perform in those courses.She noted that if the cut-off marks continued to reduce, the quality of undergraduates admitted to Nigerian tertiary institutions would be severely compromised.“The UTME is a tool used to assess students’ preparedness for tertiary education through an average score in basic subjects areas.“Therefore, if UTME cut-off mark continues to decrease, it will reduce the quality of undergraduates admitted to Nigerian universities.“This will result in a poor learning outcome and performance in tertiary education,” she said.Also contributing, Mr Cyril Ofoegbu of the Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, described the downward trend in UTME cut-off marks as “appalling”.Ofoegbu said this could further lead to the fall in standard of education in the country as it would discourage students from studying in preparedness for higher education.“UTME started falling from 200, to 190, to 180, to 170, to 160 last year.This year, it went down to 140, and maybe next year, it will further go down to 130. “Soon, you just simply buy form and then you get admitted, into the university.“The National Universities Commission (NUC) should rather raise the standards above 200. Anyone who cannot attain the mark is not fit to study in the university,” Ofoegbu advised.A University Lecturer in Enugu State, Prof. Christian Madu, also said the approved lower cut off marks for students seeking admission in Nigeria tertiary institutions would lower the standard of education in the country.Madu, who is of the Environmental Management and Control Department, University of Nigeria said that the educational standard would be affected if something was not done to accommodate the students with low grade.The don said that schools that had students with low grades could groom them, especially in the subject areas they did not do quite well in their UTME so as to be at par with those with high grade.He said that if they were not groomed to meet up with the bright students, they might end up dropping from the institutions, especially after their first year in the institutions.Mrs Jacintha Nweke, an educationist said that the government should allow individual tertiary institution to decide its cut off mark as this would make students who were preparing for UTME to sit up.Nweke said that she was very sure that no university would adopt the cut off marks announced by the government, adding that it would further degrade the low standard of the Nigeria education system.Prof Ifeanyichukwu Abada of the Department of Political Science, UNN, urged the Federal Government to act fast to improve funding and give required attention to education sector in the country.He recalled that there was a time JAMB cut off mark for universities was 250 and today was lowered to 140. “Instead of Education sector going forward, it is moving backward; it’s retrogressive, unfortunate and an unhealthy development.“If nothing serious is done to arrest this ugly development in education sector, by the next three years, cut off mark for universities will be 80 and polytechnics 50,” he said.Mr George Akubue, a Lecturer at the Institute of African Studies, UNN, said the development was a dangerous indication of serious decline in the standard of education.“Federal, state and local governments should see this as a big challenge to improve funding of education in the three tiers of government before the situation gets out of hand,” he said.In Anambra, Prof Anthony Eze of the Faculty of Education, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, said that efforts should be made at enhancing teaching to enable students meet up with the standard instead of lowering it to accommodate their capacity.He said that rather than making university an all comers affair, those who lacked the intellectual capacity to access that level of education should be encouraged to go for vocational and other informal systems of education.According to him, reducing cut off marks is ill advised, it will affect the standard of education adversely.“There is no justification for lowering the cut off mark from between 250 and 300 to as low as 120; it signals a general drop in our university education standard.“University is not for everybody, those who don’t have the capacity to meet up should be encouraged to go for vocational training,” he said.Also speaking, Mrs Jane Nwoko, a parent and secondary school teacher said managers of the Nigerian education sector should not collapse the system because they wanted to accommodate everybody.According to her, though it will help more students to gain admission into higher institutions, the implication is that the quality of learning and graduates will be reduced.She called for better funding and supervision of post primary education to make them meet up with the curriculum.A cross section of academics in Ebonyi, said that the adverse effect of continuous lowering of UTME cut-off mark into tertiary institutions would be devastating to education development of the country.Mr Ejike Okoro, an educationist , said the NUC should introduce better things in the system rather than continuous lowering of the cut off mark.“We are most worried towards standard of learning, structures, educational materials, libraries among others,” Okoro said.NewsSourceCredit: NAN
Some stakeholders in the South East have advocated the introduction of strong child monitoring and protection measures in primary and post-primary schools across the country to curb immorality.
They made the call in Enugu, while speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria on the aftermath of the incidents in Chrisland School and Dowen College.
A Guidance Counsellor in Abia, Mrs Chinememma Umesiaka, said that monitoring and counselling were two strategic means of instilling discipline and good behaviour in children.
Umesiaka, an aide to Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia on Teenage Matters, underscored the need for stakeholders in responsible parenting to assist parents to monitor the activities of children on the social media.
“Social media have become a huge threat to the mental health and general wellbeing of our teens because they are replete with fake lifestyles and children are incapable of filtering reality from make-believe.
“They follow a lot of celebrities whose morals are nothing to write home about and end up questioning everything they are taught at home, especially when they consider those celebrities as being better off.
“Our teens spend unbelievable amount of time on social media to the extent of depriving themselves of sleep, which definitely affects their health.
“Social media have put undue pressures on our teens. They distract a lot of them from their studies and other priorities, thus taking a big toll on them,” she said.
Umesiaka said that the development made it imperative for parents, guardians and custodians to institute parameters for guiding the young ones.
“Failure to do so would create an avenue for negative influences from the social media on the teenagers.
“My teenage children know we have apps monitoring their online activities, so if you do nonsense, you forfeit your privilege of using phone.
“Parents should be very firm because the key points here are guiding and monitoring them.
“Go online and you will see apps to monitor their engagements and even where they are at any given time, especially once their location is turned on,” Umesiaka said.
Also, a Child Rights Advocate, Miss Onyinyechi Nwosu, described responsible parenting as the act of raising up children with positive values and character, helping them to develop healthy self-esteem.
Nwosu said that children were usually exposed to a lot of negative influences, especially during their adolescence “due to negative peer pressure and exposure to information that were not age-appropriate”.
She, therefore, urged stakeholders to play active role in giving responsible parenting to children they interacted with toward making a better society.
A public affairs analyst in Umuahia, Mr Godson Adiele, spoke of the need for parents to devote more of their time and resources toward ensuring that their children were properly brought up with the right values and acceptable behaviour.
Adiele said that in the African tradition, parenting was not the exclusive responsibility of parents but included the entire community, teachers in schools as well as other guardians and custodians.
“This is because in our own clime, parents cannot always be with their children.
“At such times when parents are away from home or the children are gone to school, the teachers, guardians and custodians take over the job of parenting,” he said.
A parent, Mrs Ngozi Eze, blamed the pre-teen sex scandal in Chrisland School, Lagos on the failure in value system.
“What happened in that school is a product of societal decay.
Another parent, Mrs Caroline Uzondu, called for the strengthening of a legal framework that would provide for severe punishment against the circulation of pornography.
“In Lagos State for instance, circulation of pornographic materials attracts a penalty of 14 years imprisonment.
“Such laws should be enacted or strengthened in all states of the federation, because adolescent sexuality is on the rise in the country,” she said.
A teacher, Mr James Iroegbu, said that parents had abdicated their responsibilities for schools.
Iroegbu regretted that most parents did not know what was going on with their children any longer, neither did they visit their schools to monitor what they do.
“When I was teaching in Lagos, I once caught my pupil, an eight-year-old in the classroom with an adult film jacket. Her classmates gathered around and were looking at the pictures together.
“The girl confessed to me that she sneaked it from the parents’ room.”
“The challenge is that these children have become more exposed to all kinds of social vices and immoral acts, no thanks to the social media.
” So, it is important that the child protection mechanism is strengthened in our schools and society in general,” Iroegbu further said.
In Imo, stakeholders called for more focus on moral instructions in schools as well as the reintroduction of club activities.
Mrs Maria Udechukwu, a mother of four, who said this would help in instilling the right values in children, blamed the issues related to immorality among children and teens on improper guidance on the part of parents.
She added that parents should also be more interested in the education of their children, especially those whose children were in boarding schools.
She said focus should not just be on their academic prowess and urged parents to create a close bond with their children, so they could confide in them on issues concerning them especially peer pressure.
She equally added that schools, particularly boarding schools, should be able to pick up the slack in areas where parents were not meeting up by creating opportunities for mentoring and providing strong guidance and counselling units
Also contributing, a teacher, Mr Jude Ugoh stated that parents should support schools in disciplinary efforts and not try to encourage bad behaviour in their children.
Ugoh noted that while some schools went overboard in discipline of students, some parents insisted on shielding their children from consequences of their actions.
He also called for the reinvigoration of Parent Teacher Associations in schools to foster a stronger partnership between schools and parents as they had greater influence on children in their formative years.
In Anambra, Mrs Mary Abazu, a teacher at Igwebueze Primary School, Ifite Awka, said that it was more tedious on them at the primary level in moulding pupils.
“Some parents just believe that once school fees are paid, it solely behoves on teachers to make the pupils better.
“But it is not true for we teachers have at most, eight hours to spend with pupils, and the rest hours at home,” she said.
Mrs Cordelia Maduka, a civil servant, on her part said that most parents should be blamed for the misdemeanor being exhibited by most children and should be stopped.
“A situation whereby parents buy their children android phone without monitoring their activities on the phone calls for questioning.
*Some parents even go as far as threatening teachers when their wards are disciplined, then how can such child not be wayward?” She asked.
Mr Nnamdi Nwafam, a parent, called on schools to impose stiffer punishment on pupils, students that went contrary to laid down school rules.
“In most schools, hardly do they enforce discipline; in some cases, school teachers pay lip services to their profession by just giving students notes to copy without teaching them.
“Some teachers don’t even take record of students attendance in class, in that regard parents can’t be blamed for all they know is that their wards went to school without knowing that they had gone elsewhere,” he said.
Miss Nkechi Okonkwo, a teacher called on the authorities of school policies to inculcate religious and moral studies in all schools.
“By so doing, our children will be forced to know the importance of putting God first in their actions and have a good moral upbringing that will benefit the nation,” she said.
An Educationist, Mrs Jacintha Nweke, of the Comprehensive Secondary School, Enugu, says that indiscipline in many schools in the country has ruined the educational system.
She said that it was unfortunate that many schools were no longer after children’s moral behaviours but after money.
“Moral instructions and discipline used to be what schools inculcate in children, which prompt many parents to enroll their children into schools that had disciplinarians.
“Because both public and private schools including some missions’ schools do not care about their students characters, that is why we are witnessing cultism and immorality among children, who should be making their schools and parents proud by studying hard,” she said.
“The incidents, especilally the one that took place in Dowen College, will discourage many parents especially, those whose children are in primary schools from seeking admission into boarding schools,” she said.
A parent, Mr Dan Okwu said that it was sad that both parents and schools could no longer teach children good morals, adding that it was a serious issue.
“The incidents in both schools have shown that the education system in Nigeria has failed completely, especially in disciplines and moral values”.
He called on parents and all stakeholders in education to have a rethink on the way forward to help in moulding Nigerian children to have quality education which include learning and good character for better society.
An Educationist, Mrs Jacintha Nweke, on Saturday identified indecent dressing among females as one of the contributory factors to the spike in the cases of rape in the country.
Nweke, a Guidance Counselor at Model High School, Amechi in Enugu, made the observation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria .
According to her, indecent dressing is a way of saying that those engaged in it have no good moral upbringing.
She observed that “a dress is said to be indecent if it is morally and sexually offensive as it entails the exposure of one’s body to the public.”
Nweke urged parents to be alert to the kind of clothes their girl children wore.
“It is the responsibility of parents to check the kind of dresses their teenage girls wear to avoid sexual assault.
“Churches are not also helping in the fight against this unholy act called rape.
“Most pastors overlook indecent dressing among their female members, thereby allowing the society to wallow in sin such as rape.
“Dresses such as bum-shorts, off shoulder dresses, mini skirts, transparent skirts or trousers, crazy jeans, and crop-tops should be discouraged in totality,” she said.
She called for stringent measures against anyone found guilty of sexually assaulting minors, teenage girls, and, or women in general so as to serve as deterrent to others.
Edited By: Abigael Joshua/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
An educationist, Mrs Jacintha Nweke, on Tuesday, attributed the rising rape cases in the society to moral decadence.
Nweke, a guidance counselor at the Model Comprehension School Amechi, Enugu, made this observation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Enugu.
She stressed the need to build a society devoid of immorality including rape, defilement and other crimes.
The educationist uged parents to take parenting more serious in order to build a better society.
She added that the failure of parents in inculcating the right values in their children was responsible for the rising rate of crimes in the society.
“Our society is really going down, these days, some parents do not even know or care about how their children are living anymore.
“This is either due to poverty or their nonchalant attitude toward their children’s character.
“In as much as children deserve the best does not mean that parents should neglect the act of discipline in children whenever they go wrong in life.
“Parents, teachers, clerics should inculcate sound teaching in children at the early stages of their lives for better society,” she told NAN.
Nweke called on government authorities to check the incessant rape, child abuse and other crimes for the safety of everyone in the country.
Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Yemi Idris-Aduloju (NAN)