The Director, Institute of Education (IOE), University of Ilorin, Prof. Mudashiru Yusuf, has called on Nigerians to support the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to improve on the conduct of its computer-based Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) instead of seeking to revert to the manual system of pencil and paper test.
The Professor of Educational Technology stated this in an interview with Unilorin Bulletin last Tuesday (March 22, 2016), saying that in this digital age, the transition to computer-based examinations was inevitable in order to compete effectively in a globalised environment.
While noting that the hitches experienced during the conduct of the 2016 UTME were teething problems, which would be overcome, Prof. Yusuf said it was retrogressive to ask JAMB to go back to conducting manual examinations.
He said, “To advise a mother to stop child bearing simply because a child has teething problem, is a wrong approach”, adding that “as at today, in Nigeria, we are not only ready we should be ready whether we like it or not. These our children will not compete with somebody in Ilorin alone; they will compete with somebody even in Britain for the next generation of jobs. They are going to compete with not just somebody in Nigeria; that is why jobs are being internationalised.”
“You are asking investors to come into Nigeria; if they come into Nigeria and they establish industries and they know the workforce you have will not be able to sustain their industries, they will have to import their workforce. It is when you are able and capable that they will employ you. Let us not deceive ourselves; this is a digital age and information age. It is like saying: are we ready for the use of digital-based banking? The answer is obvious.”
According to Prof. Yusuf, going fully digital will eliminate fraudulent practices in the system.
He said, “Nigeria is ready and we should go digital. I don’t know what has happened, JAMB has tried before now. I hope it is not sabotage by some individuals. Nigerians have a way of doing certain things; once they know something does not favour them, they want to by-pass it and destroy it”.
Pointing out that “Change is a natural thing”, Prof. Yusuf said, “If people are asking JAMB to go back to manual-based examination, it is retrogressive. They should be asking JAMB, you did this thing, there was a problem; how is it that you are going to ensure that next time the problem does not reoccur that is what we should be doing …”
While commending JAMB for allowing for remediation where lapses have occurred, the IOE Director explained that in everything human, there is bound to be error.
Prof. Yusuf, however, enjoined the examination body to “go beyond its in-house IT officers”.
According to him, “JAMB should call stakeholders, the IT officers and other experts in the area of Information Technology from outside the establishment and universities”, adding that the University of Ilorin, which is a pioneering institution in the area of computer-based test, and others who have established themselves in that area should be invited to be part of the JAMB team as well as experts in tests and measurements, for a brainstorming session. “Let them open up what has happened and then that is what we call system analysis, then we come back to system synthesis. And I am sure the body will be fortified and will provide better services than what has happened before.”