Mass Failures In English Language: Why Mobile Systems Should Be Blamed


Nigeria’s Post-Master General, Mr. Adebisi Adegbuyi, has blamed Nigerian students’ mass failures in English Language, at both local and international examinations, on the advent of mobile communication systems.

Adegbuyi said it is quite worrisome that students cannot spell words correctly given that they are mostly used to short codes and symbols employed in sending Short Message Service (SMS) on their mobile phones.

The Post-Master General made this known on Thursday in Jos, at the presentation of awards to the winners of the 2016 Letter Writing Competitions organised in Plateau, as represented by the Assistant Post-Master General (Marketing), Mr. Omo Emmanuel.

He lamented that students send messages through social media platforms like the WhatsApp, BBM, and SMS using short-codes and symbols, and when faced with spelling the full words in examinations, they find it very difficult.

Post-Master General, Adebisi Adegbuyi,
Post-Master General, Adebisi Adegbuyi

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While advising managements of schools to inculcate the culture of letter writing and its rudiments like enveloping, addressing and stamping, Adegbuyi opined that the trend could be checked through grammar competitions as organised by the Plateau government.

The Area Postal Manager in charge of Plateau, Mr. Abubakar Usman, had said that the objective of the competition was to revive the dying culture of letter writing among school children.

NAN reports that the competition, which received 6,849 entries from 477 schools across Plateau, was won by Aaron Mang, who scored 82 percent. Thomas Ripji came second with 78, while Esther Phillip came third with a score of 72 percent.

Similarly, the Plateau Deputy Governor, Prof. Sonni Tyoden, in his speech, pledged government’s support toward sustaining the letter writing competition.

He said government expects the competition to augment its efforts at transforming the minds of the children in critical thinking and creative writing.

Just recently, the US Library of Congress honoured a 4-year-old Georgia girl, Daliyah Marie Arana, as “Librarian For the Day” for reading more than 1000 books.

Daliyah of Gainesville, who has a voracious appetite for reading achieved the feat this month, and when she visited the Library in Washington, D.C., she was subsequently named “Librarian For The Day.”

The fact that Nigerian students’ mass failures in English Language exams is being attributed to mobile systems comes as no surprise given that Nigerians and Africans generally are believed to have a very poor reading culture.

Nigeria was recently named as the most mobilized country in the world, according to a 2016 report by Nigeria Mobile Trends which revealed that 76% of all Nigeria’s internet traffic comes via mobile platforms.

The report released by Twinpine, a digital marketing firm, placed Nigeria ahead as the most mobile telecommunications induced nation, ahead of India and South Africa with 65 per cent and 57 per cent Internet traffic coming through mobile platforms, respectively.

According to Twinpine, there are 74.7m unique mobile users in Nigeria out of an estimated 184.6 million people. That means mobile penetration (unique users vs. population) is pegged at around 40% and 30 per cent smartphone penetration rate. Apparently, the number of smartphone users between 2011 and 2016 increased from 4m to 15.5m.

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Findings from the research also reveals that Nigerians spend 193 minutes every day consuming media on mobile smartphones compared to 131 minutes on TV, 80 minutes via a laptop and 39 minutes via a tablet. The report holds that desktop traffic decreased from 57% in 2011 to 18% in 2015, while mobile traffic went from 42% in 2011 to 79% in 2015.