By Josmat Jerry
A body vested with the regulation and administration of SSCE and DE (Direct Entry) candidates into tertiary institutions in Nigeria is now beautifully digressing from its objectives, and thereby gradually losing its goal. This is a body that has been in operation for the past three to four decades, known for its strictness and regarded as the perfect measure in separation of boys from men. In recent years, its golden days and quality times has been fading out. A body meant to be adequately funded so as to establish its purpose is now doing the opposite, by turning out to being one that generate revenue for the nation’s government.
Quite a number of candidates sits for UTME (Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination) annually, with less than 25% gaining admission into various tertiary institutions all across the country. Over the last six years, 2019 recorded the highest number of candidates with a figure of 1,989,682, while the lowest was 1,644,072; candidates for year 2015 and the current year 2020 with a number of 1,949,399 candidates. (Figures of Direct Entry candidates included).In recent years up till now, the board has been releasing huge amount of money from this examination. Drawing back to the figure chart since 2016, 8.5bn was realized in 2018 which was the highest, 7.8bn in 2017, 5bn in 2019, and 7bn in 2020.
It would have been a different issue if these revenues had been diverted to the right purse, and spent on its immediate needing. Questions need to be asked since the board has been vested with the responsibility of remitting money into the account of the federal government, and this can only mean the government is using the board as a tool of extorting money from candidates. On a second thought, when JAMB realized that they are making too much money, they could have diverted them to those areas that need help and perfection in the sector, or better still reduce the examination registration fee to a token of 1,000 naira as majority of student who sit for this examination are from poor homes.
The duty expected of JAMB which was vested on them is to organize a stress free examination registration, an error free process in dispatching candidates to various examination centers, creation of a conducive environment for candidates who are sitting for the examination by ensuring good use of quality infrastructure and personnel, smooth marking process, meeting institutions heads on setting of cut-off marks into various categories of tertiary institutions and so on.
However, it is on a sad note to see that a lot of hiccups can be clearly seen from their main activities, candidates logging complains on CBT systems shutting down during examination, mistakes in the collation of results, accrediting a center that is below standard for UTME, delay in the release of examination photo card, a very stressful registration experience for candidates, an eleventh hour change of examination center, all these are the major shortcomings that can lead to a negative impact on the lives of youths sitting for the examination.
Furthermore, a number of institutions (especially Federal Universities) indirectly render UTME irrelevant. This has been showed in the level of faith they have toward it, and how much they question its veracity in their reactions by conducting their own entrance examination (POST UTME). If such institutions with high status are inversely condemning UTME and JAMB itself is not working to average satisfaction, then, it’s time to rub off the board and stop extorting money from innocent hands. Jamb is currently underperforming, the board has moved away from its path and choose to dwell on a wrong path. This is an examination that was known to be very reliable and trusted in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s when there was no POST UTME.
The government and the board need to take a drastic step in putting a stop to the manipulation of JAMB as a source of revenue. It shouldn’t be one that credits the account of the country, because anything that has to do with education must be adequately funded without expecting any monetary gain as it’s dedicated to building and impacting young minds. There should be creation of well-equipped CBT centers all over the federation, well trained personnel should be employed so as to ensure the smooth running of the system in order to conduct a stress free registration process, sending of examination details at the earliest time and releasing candidates’ result at least 24 hours after the conclusion of their examination. All these should be put in place in order to have a positive result.
To guarantee and ensure safe education for the generations to come, there’s need for a collective and efficient dedication in the education process, such will put in place a resound duty and accountability in the process thereof. JAMB attention should not also be diverted into other means or activities and ensure their primary duty is carried out to their fullest capacity. With these, the board will be on the right track.