JAMB: To be or not to be?

Many prominent Nigerians, students and even the Senate, had at one time or the other, called for the scrapping of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Examination (JAMB).
Uji Abdullahi Iliyasu examines reasons for the agitation.

JAMB’s establishment The legal instrument used in the establishment of JAMB was the promulgation of Decree No.
2 of 1978 of the federal military government on February 13, 1978.
But by August 1988, the Federal Executive Council amended the decree.
The amendments have since been codified into Decree No.
33 of 1989, which took effect from December 7, 1989.
The decree, according to the federal ministry of education portal, empowers the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board to conduct matriculation examination for all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in Nigeria.
The body places suitably qualified candidates into tertiary institutions after having taken into account the vacancies available in each tertiary institution; the guidelines approved for each tertiary institution by its proprietors or other competent authorities; the preference expressed or otherwise indicated by the candidates for certain tertiary institutions and courses; such other matters as the board may be directed by the minister to consider or the board itself may consider appropriate in the circumstances; collate and disseminate information on all matters relating to admissions into tertiary institutions or any other matter relevant to the discharge of functions of the board.
In addition to carrying out other activities as are necessary or expedient for the full discharge of all or any of the functions conferred on it under or pursuant to this decree.
N7.8bn remittance for 2017 Registrar of JAMB, Prof.
Is’haq Oloyede had told Nigerians that the board had generated N12bn as gross income in 2017, but after deducting its expenses, it remitted a net income of N7.8bn to the federal government.
He told journalists during a media briefing in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital in January.
He said the board was able to remit such huge amount of money to FG because it blocked loopholes and checked wastages, adding that though JAMB was not a money generating agency, it was also not a money wasting establishment.
The registrar said 1.7 million candidates sat for the last UTME in addition to 200 direct entry candidates.
He then projected that the board was expecting two million candidates to sit for the examination in 2018.
In May 2017 alone, JAMB sold the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) forms for a record over 1.7 million candidates at the close of the site by 12 midnight.
The board urged Nigerians to have trust in its processes as they were meant to enhance productivity, eliminate examination malpractice and promote transparency to an unprecedented level.
In a statement the registrar said, “We registered a number that has never been done in the entire 39 years of the existence of JAMB within a time frame Nigerians were skeptical about.
“The highest we have ever had was 1.5 million, this is record breaking.
We will look at the system so far and make adjustments where necessary to ensure a full proof process of registration and examination.
We are always sure of our systems and will continue to expand our frontiers of thinking to transform the board to an agency that Nigerians will be proud of.
“JAMB wishes to state clearly that it will continue to be very open in all its activities and ensure inclusiveness even in the areas of its finances.
The disclosure of the actual number of candidates registered is a clear invitation for the public to know what the board has realised from the sale for this year and we are not perturbed because we have nothing to hide in our dealings.
We are determined to make Nigerians proud of us,” he said.
Calls for the scrapping of JAMB Despite Oloyede’s ability to account for the huge money the board generated, unlike his predecessors, many Nigerians become suspicious that he was turning the board to a money making agency.
A party chieftain’s call Recently, a chieftain of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Dr Chinedu Ekwalo, has revisited the call for the scrapping of the Joint Admissions and matriculation Board (JAMB), a body responsible for conducting entrance examination into Nigerian institutions of higher learning.
His argument was that JAMB had become more of a revenue generating organ than an academic channel for children to pass through to tertiary institutions.
“I want JAMB to be scrapped and the reason is because Nigerian universities, put together, have a carrying capacity of 600, 000 students and every year we have no fewer than two million candidates who sit for UTME.
“Even if universities should absorb more than their capacities, there are always many who remained without admission, and this happens annually.
“JAMB, for me, is just a waste of time, because when it was established in the 1970s, its primary responsibility was to serve as a vehicle that will move our children from secondary to tertiary institutions.
Oloyede Many prominent Nigerians, students and even the Senate, had at one time or the other, called for the scrapping of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Examination (JAMB).
Uji Abdullahi Iliyasu examines reasons for the agitation.
“Today, the only thing the examination body does is remitting several billions of naira to the government, which asks it to start generating revenue for this nation,’’ Ekwalo said.
In April of 2017, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ibadan (UI) chapter, called on the federal government to scrap the exam body.
The union chairman, Dr.
Deji Omole, who spoke in Ibadan said the board had outlived its usefulness by reducing the standard of education and therefore, must be scrapped immediately to allow universities set a new standard of admission.
“Since Prof Oloyede did not consider it appropriate to resign after failing the whole nation, I think the minister of education, Malam Adamu Adamu, should not hesitate to sack him.
“Why will anybody make life difficult for candidates whose parents are struggling to live under the terrible condition the government has made them to live in? “This is where people are duping Nigerian children.
This is a total failure.
Students must have at least three months for registration, its procedure must be open and their options to public universities must not be limited to serve the agenda of the proprietors of private universities,” he said.
A social commentator’s call Also in August 2017, Luke Onyekakeyah, expressing a personal opinion said the minister of education, Malam Adamu Adamu and JAMB registrar, Prof.
Ishaq Oloyede were embarrassing the nation by their educa- tion policies, warning that that was not the kind of change Nigerians need.
He said JAMB was being redesigned towards ruining the future of Nigerian children and called for its scrapping, which has outlived its usefulness, in order to allow universities admit qualified candidates by themselves..
“It is appalling and disgusting for JAMB to slash university cut-off marks from an awful and lamentable 180 (45 per cent) to a deplorable and scandalous 120 (30 per cent).
It is like the 180 score didn’t get Nigeria at the jugular, which the 120 is now out to accomplish.
Without equivocation, this say much about the direction the country is headed.
“The second is the re-introduction of post-UTME test that was banned barely a year ago by the Minister of Education Adamu Adamu.
What is a post-UTME test going to achieve when failures, who scored 30 per cent in UTME are admitted.
Is it possible for candidates who scored 30 per cent in UTME to score 80 per cent in post-UTME test? This is most unlikely and would call for investigation if it happens,” he lamented.
Call by Nigerian students In August 2017, The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) called for the scrapping of Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) if it failed to reverse the low cut-off points for admission into universities and polytechnics.
The exam body, alongside stakeholders, had fixed the minimum cut off marks for admissions into universities at 120 and polytechnics and colleges of education pegged at 100.
Although JAMB said institutions were at liberty to raise their cut-off marks for admission above the minimum set by JAMB.
But NANS’ national Public Relations Officer Bestman Okereafor, in a statement said the body “will not hesitate to call for the scrapping of JAMB if the decision is not withdrawn without further delay.” “The national leadership of NANS, frowned at the drastic reduction of the JAMB unified cut-off mark to 120, for admission into Nigeria universities.
“NANS sees this as a means of further degrading the level of the already falling and failing academic performance and excellence in Nigeria institutions.
“In lieu of this, NANS under the able leadership of the proactive NANS President, Comrade Aruna Kadiri, is calling on JAMB to reverse this inimical act without further delay or face the anger of Nigerian students.’’ JAMB Not Money wasting organ In May, Registrar, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof.
Ishaq Oloyede said the examination body has stopped the collection of votes for capital projects and overhead from the federal government in order to promote transparency in the system.
The JAMB boss who was reacting to criticisms against the board over alleged financial recklessness insisted that JAMB is not a money making machine for the government as being insinuated, adding that the board, under him, had been very prudent in the management of its funds.
He stated this while briefing newsmen in Benin City on the proposed plan by JAMB to partner other security agencies in the conduct of their examinations.
“When you ask me what they were doing with the money before, I was not there.
So I am not in position to tell you what they were doing.
The one I know, is that, government gave me an assignment, I have done the assignment, the surplus must be returned to the owner of it.
That is what I know.
“So, some persons are raising questions; are we money generating? My answer is, are we money wasting? Do you get the point? Must we go and steal the money simply because the money was there? So, at times, I do not understand the logic of some persons.
They preferred that the money is generated and wasted.
“The first thing we did when we came in was that the government should not give us capital vote again.
They used to collect capital vote and over head from government but we stopped it.
“Just fund yourselves except for salaries and we will be happy if government even stopped the salaries.
Except for salaries, we do not collect but for the last two years, we have stopped capital and over head because we believed we did not need them.
“And if after spending of capital and over head, we still have surplus of billions, do people want us to waste the billions or to steal it? So that is why I am surprised that people are making noise that we are generating money.
If you say we are increasing the charges I can understand but we are not doing so.” “As far as JAMB is concerned, I have not found any case of a breakthrough.
No matter how clever they think they are, we are ahead of them.
One of the reasons why I led a delegation here myself is to see whether there is any evidence of breakthrough.
You can ask any of the security agencies handling the matter, they we tell you.
“We have not been able to find one case of success.
What we are treating are attempts.
And because we are proactive that we are picking their attempt when people try to break into our BVN, they did not get any questions because our questions were not there.
They were able to break into a decoil that we created and they were not able to do anything.
“That is why we keep on promising them that if you can get us one question of ours that is genuine, we will pay you a lot.
So because we believe that we must be proactive that is why we are dealing with any attempt and once an attempt is made, we do not leave it as attempt, we go after them and when we go after them, we arrest them”, he maintained True National service? Earlier, Prof.
Ishaq Oloyede, has vowed that he would quit his job if people in positions of authority try to influence him to do their bidding in the organization.
He told newsmen this when the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, led by the chairman, Prof.
Itse Sagay, visited the tertiary institutions’ examination regulatory body in respect of the recent N36 million snake swallowing scandal that rocked JAMB.
Oloyede said his fear when he assumed the headship of JAMB, was that politicians would not allow him do his work accordingly, a development, he said, would have made him quietly quit the job.
However said that no one had ever approached him to influence anything.
“Since I come here, nobody has called me to do any wrong thing.
I have never seen anybody who will call me and say, somebody has done what is wrong, don’t allow it to go.
People who have authority over me have been the people who are even calling me to strengthen what I am doing.” The choice between Oloyede and his predecessor Former registrar of JAMB, Prof.
Dibu Ojerinde, remitted the total sum of N50,752,544 to the federal government coffers between 2010 and 2016.
This, according to reports, is about one per cent of the over N7 billion remitted to the federal government in 2017 by JAMB’s new boss, Prof.
Ishaq Oloyede.
The accountant general’s office stated that N11,522,808 was remitted in 2011; N25, 303,274 was remitted in 2013 and N13,926,462 was remitted in 2014.
There was no remittance in 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016.
This account made President Muhammadu Buhari to order for the probe of Prof.
Ojerinde over poor remit- tances to the federal government’s accounts in the past.
But we are yet to hear the result.
Critical questions The question some critical Nigerians are asking is: Which is better, JAMB that generates revenue for the government for the citizens’ general interest under Prof.
Is’haq Oloyede or the JAMB that generates revenue for individuals’ interest as done by Oloyede’s prodecessors?

 

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