A cross section of students sitting for UTME

By Abimbola Ologun

The 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME)’s results have been released, revealing a high number of students who scored below 200 out of 400 marks. This has sparked a nationwide conversation about the factors that may have contributed to these low scores and how students and parents can work to improve academic performance in future exams.

To gain a deeper understanding of these issues and explore potential solutions, The BeautifuDay Testimonial conducted a heartfelt vox pop to hear directly from students and parents who are troubled by the recent UTME results.

This is invaluable insights of students who experienced disappointing results and parents who shared concerns about their children’s academic futures. However, what begins to emerge is a picture of renewed dedication, resilience, and a determination to improve.

This, not only sheds light on the struggles experienced by many but also serves as a powerful testament to the collective desire of the students to overcome adversity and pave a brighter path in future encounter.

An education research expert, Dr. Peter Odukoro, in a recent video interview with TVC, raised concerns regarding the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination results, suggesting that these results shed light on the quality of education Nigerian Children receive.

“This is scandalous; it is an indication that our children are not getting the type of education they deserve, it is also a sad commentary on the quality of teaching the children are receiving; it is quite unfortunate from us. We haven’t gotten the right human capital in place for our schools, the quality of education of teachers training we offer now is softer and if you are not careful, you might end up blaming the kids for not doing well in exams.

“There are systemic challenges that are making it difficult for these children to rise up to the occasion. A lot of factors are involved; we are living in a country where education is represented as scam so children are not finding enough inspiration and motivation to work hard and teachers haven’t gotten enough skills to be able to adopt the right approaches to help the children do well in exams.

“I quite understand that Jamb UTME is a notch higher than the ones NECO and WAEC conduct. Unfortunately, for most of us still doing research in the system, we find that right from kindergarten up to the time the children finish their undergraduate programmes at the universities, what we concentrate on is having them to consume quantities of information they may not find useful just two months after graduating from the universities so we are not helping them understand the materials we are presenting to them, we are not helping them apply knowledge.

“What has happened here is Jamb UTME requires people to demonstrate understanding of the concept they are confronted with and also demonstrate how to use those concepts to solve practical problems in life.”

On the part of the students, many of them attributed their low scores to inadequate preparation, citing a lack of access to quality study materials, poor time management, and limited support from teachers. One student named Chike expressed disappointment in his score, admitting he underestimated the exam’s difficulty and wished he had devoted more time to studying.

A candidate named Funmilayo narrated her ordeal: “My system failed but later came up. I tried my best and I scored 251. I’m not happy because JAMB has dealt with me and quashed my chance of studying my desired course.”

Paul Okpe attributed his woes to system failure, “My system shut down 30 minutes to the end of the examination. I was thrown off balance and the questions I knew the answers to just went away. It took me time to adjust.”

Okpe wasn’t the only student that battled with system failure as this was a challenge faced by some other candidates too.

James on his path said, “My own system went off midway into English Language and the invigilator ignored me and it never came on. But I’m grateful to God, I scored 233.”

Moreso, parents shared concern about their children’s performance, highlighting the need for more effective communication between schools and families.

Mrs.  Adeyemi, who is a parent, stressed the importance of parents taking an active role in their children’s education. “We must ensure our children have necessary resources and support to excel in the UTME.”

Another parent, Mrs Bunmi, stressed the need for parents to guide their children and lead them well. She noted that most of the students spend their time on Facebook and TikTok rather than study well for their examinations.

In her words: “Nigerian parents must search their conscience. What are you doing to contribute to the academic success of your children? You allow them spend hours on TikTok and Facebook, no time to study what they are being taught in school. That is bad parenting.”

A parent who didn’t want to disclose his identity lambasted JAMB stating that the examination body failed to play their roles effectively. He voiced that most of the centres used are not technologically inclined to host such critical examination as JAMB.

When asked if he had a child that sat for the UTME examination, he said, “I don’t have children who have come of age to sit for the exam, but I have neighbours and friends whose children sat for the exam and they all said the same thing which is the system was faulty, the centre didn’t start on time, or the generator wasn’t working. This is a sad experience for someone who has prepared to write JAMB only to discover that things are not working well. I believe everyone should play their role so that things can work better.

The consensus however is that both students, parents and the examination body should ensure adequate preparation and appropriate logistics which are crucial for enhancing good performance in examinations. There should be an increased access to quality study materials, a stronger emphasis on effective time management, and a more robust educational system and parental support.

A parent rightly said, “It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a collaborative effort between students, parents and educators to achieve academic success.


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