Fact Check: No, 86% of candidates did not fail 2021 UTME

The failure rate of the 2021 UTME is exaggerated.

1.3 million candidates wrote this year's UTME, not 6.9 million as claimed [The Nation]

The 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) has been plagued by numerous reports of poor performance by candidates.

Candidates and their parents have in media interviews blamed low scores on the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) that conducts the examination that took place between June 19 and July 3, 2021.

A claim that gained steam on social media last week reported that only 14% of candidates that wrote the exam passed, condemning 86% to failure.

The figures were repeated in Twitter discussions, and more widespread on Facebook.

It is believed to have originated from a claim that only 973,384 of the 6,944,368 candidates that wrote the exam passed with scores to get into Nigerian universities.

The report of an alarming 86% failure rate has once again brought the abysmal Nigerian education sector under the spotlight.

However, the failure rate is exaggerated.

At the time the initial claim was made early last week, JAMB had yet to even conclude the examination which finally wrapped up last Saturday.

JAMB Registrar, Ishaq Oloyede, in a televised interview on Sunday, July 4 announced that 99.65% of candidates scored 120 marks and above out of the possible 400.

65.62% of the candidates also scored at least 160, the mark set as the minimum benchmark to get into public universities last year.

JAMB is yet to announce the cut-off marks for the 2021/2022 academic session, but they're likely to remain unchanged (read more on how cut-off marks work here).

Also, contrary to the figures that were central to the the 86% failure rate claim, only 1.3 million candidates registered for the exam, not the 6.9 million that was reported.

While Oloyede did not release the percentage for the number of candidates that scored more than 200 marks, more likely to get them into universities, the claim that 86% of candidates failed 2021 UTME is false, especially since it was built on made up figures, and the exam was yet to conclude at the time it was first made.

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