By Oluseye Ojo

A member of the House of Representatives, Hon Olamijuwonlo Alao-Akala, has voiced his concern over the mass failure of students in the recent Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

According to the legislator, the failure signified a larger problem with Nigeria’s education sector as a whole, rather than solely the performance of individual students.

Alao-Akala made this known in a statement, entitled: ‘JAMB 2024 Performance Worries Me’, which he signed personally and made available to journalists on Friday.

The lawmaker, representing Ogbomoso North/Ogbomoso South/Oriire federal constituency of Oyo State, in the National Assembly, decried the alarming statistics from this year’s UTME, revealing that over 1.4 million students, accounting for 76 per cent of total applicants, were unable to score above 200, which is usually the cut-off for admission into most universities.

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The lawmaker emphasised the need for reform in the education system, urging all stakeholders, including the government, schools, parents, and society to take action.

He noted that this year’s results continued a concerning trend of poor performance in UTME over the past seven years. He added that since 2018, at least, 74 per cent of applicants have scored below the average mark of 200.

His words: “The government should carry out a comprehensive review to ensure that teachers in schools across the country are qualified to teach students. This must be followed up with a comprehensive review of the remuneration for teachers to keep them motivated and a revamp of facilities in schools to ensure the environment is conducive for teachers to teach and students to learn.

“The government must extend its regulatory powers over education to privately-owned schools to ensure the standard of education meets an acceptable benchmark, where students are treated properly, and the environment is designed to stir a sense of commitment to learning.”

He also encouraged parents to limit their children’s access to the Internet and prioritise educational content.