Without JAMB Chaos will hallmark admission into Tertiary Institutions
Calls for the scrapping of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) have been deafening in recent times especially in the wake of technical hitches that characterised the computer-based in the 2016 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
Still smarting from that development, which some disgruntled staff members contributed significantly to, JAMB was again involved in another controversy regarding the alleged adoption of a strange point system for admission into tertiary institutions in the next academic session. Registrar/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the board, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, in an interaction with newsmen, denied adopting the point system. He also provided answers to some niggling issues dogging the outfit. ENO-ABASI SUNDAY was there.
Only recently, it was rumoured that your outfit introduced a new point system that would guide admissions into tertiary institutions in the country. This generated a lot of controversies. What really happened?
We did not adopt any point system as widely circulated by some newspapers. It is another way of testing the children. Once a candidate has credits in five SSCE papers in WAEC, NECO or NABTEB, including mathematics and English language plus three other relevant papers, he is qualified to go. However, such a person’s name must be on the list of candidates sent by JAMB to the Institutions for screening.
Please do not join the league of mischief. Even on our website, we did not specify such point system. We only reiterated two models that two different institutions, Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, and IBB University, Lapai, Niger State used before this era. We pointed out the errors therein and gave the correct model. The approved model only gave the government directive in respect of merit, catchment and educationally less developed ratios. The ratios vary by ownership in favour of merit. It also caters for more science oriented than arts by ratio of 60:40 in favour of science.
Please check our website. Simply put, we are back to the era of no more test of any form during screening. Use the JAMB result strictly in order of merit but catering for the catchment states, local government areas and educationally less developed states and LGAs.
Some people are calling for the scrapping of JAMB. What is your take on this?
Before asking for JAMB to be scrapped, let us ask ourselves why it was established in the first place. JAMB was established in 1977 due to the quest for the restructuring of the public examination system, and to ensure a virile and transparent admission process into tertiary institutions. Since then, JAMB has become the country’s official entrance examination board for candidates seeking admission to all higher institutions of learning, including universities, polytechnic, and colleges of education. The problem of admission into universities became severe in 1976 with the establishment of additional six universities by the Federal Military Government of General Olusegun Obasanjo, which also set up a national committee on universities entrance chaired by Michael S. Angulu, now late.
Also, the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigeria Universities felt concerned about the general chaos, and uncoordinated system of admissions into national universities. Hence, the establishment of JAMB became a necessity in order to correct the anarchy associated with admissions to federal universities at the time. For those making boisterous calls for JAMB to be scrapped, have they asked themselves about the chaos that would trail admission into tertiary institutions in the country when JAMB is no more?
Some people are calling for a situation where each tertiary institution is allowed to set its own standards and conduct its own entrance tests. They argue that there is no place in the world where a single examination body conducts examinations for all tertiary institutions. What is your position on this?
Where in the world does a single examination body conduct examination for all tertiary institutions? Before critics crucify JAMB, they need to know that it is not only in Nigeria that a single body is mandated to conduct examinations for all tertiary institutions. Nonetheless, should there be no other country in the entire world with such policy, would it not be an awesome feat to pioneer something and let others adopt from us? Must we always borrow a leaf? Or can’t trees grow in our nation? It is on record however that, there are many countries where single examination bodies conduct entrance examinations for candidates seeking admission into tertiary institutions.
First, Australia practices the federal system of government and the government is fully responsible for education and admission to technical and further education colleges, and undergraduate degrees for domestic students. Also, in Brazil, before one can gain admission to a university, candidates must undergo a public open examination called ‘Vestibular’, which lasts about one week and takes place once in a year. Brazil in recent years initiated an examination synonymous to JAMB.
The acronym for the examination is SISU (Sistema de Selecao Unificada) meaning ‘Unified System of Selection. Furthermore, in Chile, the admission of freshman is based on Prueba de Seleccion Universitaria (PSU ). Only private (and not all private) universities conduct their own tests or handle PSU results differently. Chilean traditional universities tend to put a strong emphasis on PSU. Even Turkey has a body similar to JAMB. The body in Turkey does not only conduct the exam alone it sends the list of admitted candidates to the institutions without reference to any input from the universities. In fact, the admission is done with utmost order of performance. Any candidate who cannot cope with the academic work of the university is sent packing.
Can JAMB serve as a unifying board in a country such as ours where segregation, tribalism, ethnicity, racism, partiality, sentimentalism, prejudice, fundamentalism, fanaticism are rife?
At this point in our history where ethnic bickering is high, it is better we emphasis on things that unite us as a people, rather than those things that will further deepen the animosity between and among people. If universities in the northern parts of the country should create their own admission guidelines and universities in the southern parts do same, there would be discrimination of different shades and colour.
In the end, graduates, instead of being identified and judged by the contents of their brain, will be identified by the geographical locations of their alma mater, such as “Graduate of Afenifere University”, “Graduate of Arewa University”, “Graduate of Ndigbo University” or even “Graduate of Niger Delta University,” among other senseless and ridiculous appellations. JAMB, therefore, promotes peace and unity among various entities in Nigeria through its universal guidelines that apply to all candidates irrespective of geographical location, tribe, ethnic background and religion.
Why did the Federal Government abolish post-UTME?
The Federal Government has displayed a heroic stunt in her leadership, one that will go down in history books, and in coming years, by abolishing post-UTME. Although most Nigerians accede to this legendary decision, they are few persons who are against this policy. The few that are against it should bow their heads and jam their hands to applaud this action. Hear what the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu said while justifying why post-UTME was scrapped: “As far as I am concerned, the nation has confidence in what JAMB is doing, the universities should not be holding another examination, and if the universities have any complain against JAMB, let them bring it and then we address it”.
Post-UTME had been described as an exploitative practices aimed at extorting money from admission seekers under the guise of screening them for competence. Scrapping of Post-UTME could put an end to admission racketeering by cabals that are known for manipulating admission process in favour of their children and wards. Moreover, it does not make sense to write multiple examinations for the same purpose.
Did post-UTME come as a result of distrust in the examination handled by the JAMB?
Distrust in the conduct of examinations in Nigeria has also been a recurring decimal. From the National Common Entrance Examinations to Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE), it has been the same story. We even query the manner certificates are issued in our tertiary institutions. The question however is, what are the examination bodies doing to restore sanity and credibility to a system that has been devoured and crippled by corruption?
JAMB appears to be the only examination body that is constantly making frantic efforts to restore sanity and confidence to the conduct of examinations in Nigeria. While the Nigerian media inundates people with the gory images of examination malpractices across all levels of education in the country, it seems stakeholders of this important sector of the economy are maniacally puzzled on the best possible ways to restore confidence to a system that is hugely battered and severed from excellence and distinction that epitomise academic achievements.
JAMB has always showed strong determination to boost confidence in the conduct of its examination by putting innovative measures in place in order to curb fraud and malpractices that have been terrorising the educational sector. It was JAMB that introduced “paper type” (a situation where numerical arrangements of questions differ from one paper type to another), but when “paper type” outlived its relevance, JAMB introduced the computer-based test as against pencil paper test (PPT) in order to curb possible malfeasance in the conduct of examination. More so, in order to consummate and consolidate on the benefits, and this approach has given the nation opportunity to beam its searchlight on the manner WAEC and NECO examinations are conducted and devise possible means of strengthening its conduct in order to subdue examination malpractices.