Senate yesterday directed its Committee on Education to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the Joint Admission Matriculation Board policy.
Senate yesterday directed its Committee on Education to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) policy, including all allegations of favouritism and generally, review the power of the Board vis-à-vis admissions. Consequently, the Upper Legislative Chamber urged the Board to consult widely with Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs), Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and all other stakeholders in the education sector with a view to coming out with a friendlier holistic, comprehensive and sustainable admissions policy.
These were sequel to a motion entitled ‘JAMB’s New Admission Policy’, which was moved by Senator Joshua Lidani. Lidani pointed out that the JAMB, at its 2015 Combined Policy Meeting announced the adoption of the new policy.
The new policy, which was adopted on July 14, 2015, reckons that candidates of universities with surplus applicants for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) are reassigned to other universities with lower number of candidates than their capacities. “It will be beneficial to needy universities that is universities with lower number of candidates than their capacities, as this will ensure that those universities will have more candidates to admit.
Candidates will have better chances for admission in the universities they are reassigned to contrary to situations, where they would have to wait for admission in the universities of their first choices, which may not materialise, and hence forfeit admission for that session,” Lidani observed.
Lidani, therefore, expressed concern that the Board was faced with series of massive protest by parents and candidates of and some organisations like the Association of Tutorial School Operators of Nigeria over the Board’s new admission policy and numerous other stakeholders, following the new policy.
“The new policy runs contrary to the letters and spirit of Section 5(1)(c) (iii) of the JAMB Act, which requires that JAMB should take into account preferences of the candidates in their choices of schools and the consequent confusion surrounding the directive that only candidates whose names are forwarded to the universities by JAMB are eligible for post UTME screening and others would have to go back to JAMB website to find out their new institutions. “Although the Federal Ministry of Education has suspended the implementation of this policy, it is observed that JAMB is still going ahead with implementation; thus creating more hardship for parents and uncertainty in the education sector.
“Some of the candidates are posted to private universities whose fees are beyond the means of the students, parents guardians, and in some cases, students are posted to universities that are located far away from their places of abode; thus, placing additional financial burden on their parents,” he said.
In his contribution, former Minister of Education and former Governor of Ebonyi State, Senator Sam Egwu, urged the Federal Government to create more universities to attend to the high numbers of candidates that are aspiring for higher education. “The government should create more universities and facilities for our children because JAMB is in a very tight situation, ” Egwu pointed out.
On his part, Senator Ben Bruce, called for an increase in budgetary allocation to the education sector as is obtainable in developed countries of the world. “We are part of the problem. We should increase the budget for education. Five percent of our budget should be set aside for education. If they do not have the money, then, there is nothing that JAMB can do,” he said.
In his own submission, Senator Barnabas Gemade, called for an increase in the years of validity of JAMB result. He argued that it is only right that people, who have passed the examination, do not have to be subjected to another test in 12 months, considering the limited number of admission slots in universities. “The validity of the result of JAMB shouldn’t just be for 12 months, but for 36 months, for example,” Gemade said.
–Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja