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JAMB: Rep Alao-Akala laments discouraging performance, wants Education System overhauled

Hon. Olamijuwonlo Alao-Akala, lawmaker representing Ogbomoso North/Ogbomoso South/Oriire in the House of Representatives, has said the performance of students in this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation…

Hon. Olamijuwonlo Alao-Akala, lawmaker representing Ogbomoso North/Ogbomoso South/Oriire in the House of Representatives, has said the performance of students in this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) is not encouraging as over 1.4 million students, representing 76 percent of total applicants, were unable to score up to 200, which is mostly the cut off for admission in most universities.

The youthful lawmaker, who said he felt sad about the development said everyone – government, school, parents and society, needs to be concerned.

He said there should be complete overhaul of the education system in the country.

In a statement personally signed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) legislator and son of late former governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, he said 2016 was the last time more than 30 percent of students scored above average in JAMB examination.

“Earlier this week, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) released the breakdown of students’ performance in this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). While an announcement like this is expected to elicit excitement from parents, students, teachers and other stakeholders in the education value chain, the reverse has been the case.

“According to JAMB, 1.4 million students, representing 76 percent of total applicants, scored below average in the exercise. This figure has become a source of concern for many as it indicates that approximately eight out of every ten students selected at random performed below average. The operational word here being average, not excellent.

“Naturally, this development has elicited comments from many Nigerians across board who, like me, find it disturbing. But to properly dissect the issue and proffer effective solutions, it’s important that we take a couple of steps back. This wave of poor performance by Nigerian students in UTME did not start today.

“Since 2018, at least 74 percent of applicants have scored below the average mark of 200 in the exercise, an indication that while the latest figure is concerning, it’s only the latest mark in a disturbing pattern of poor performance that started seven years ago. The last time more than 30 percent of students scored above average in the exercise was in 2016 when 35 percent of applicants scored above 200.

“What this indicates is that while it’s easy to blame participants in this year’s exercise for their performance and point fingers at various issues like the rise in access to mobile devices among their demography, the problem is deeper than that and as such must be addressed from a more comprehensive lens.

“To start with, the mass failure in this year’s UTME and every other exercise over the past few years does not only represent a failure for these students; it’s also an indication that the country’s education sector has also failed. What this indicates is that to resolve this crisis and change this reality, it is important to overhaul the country’s education sector.

“Firstly, the government must as a matter of priority significantly increase the percent of allocation to the education sector, especially primary and secondary levels. This funding must be backed by a renewed policy plan that reflects the current status of things in the sector and is based on realistic performance objectives in the short and long-term.”

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