How JAMB is destroying education in Nigeria

The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu and JAMB registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede are behind this national embarrassment. Could President Muhammadu Buhari save the future of this country by reversing these retrogressive decisions? This is not the kind of change we need.

Two shocks in the tertiary education sector that have jolted Nigerians, once again, show how the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) is geared towards ruining the future of Nigeria. It also proves the much-talked about need to scrap JAMB, which has outlived its usefulness, to allow universities admit qualified candidates.

The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu and JAMB registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede are behind this national embarrassment. Could President Muhammadu Buhari save the future of this country by reversing these retrogressive decisions? This is not the kind of change we need.

First is the appalling and disgusting slashing of 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, these 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 JAMB are admitted. Is it possible for candidates who scored 30 per cent in JAMB to score 80 per cent in post-UTME test? This is most unlikely and would call for investigation if it happens.

Nigerians are shaken and wondering who made these decisions and for what purpose. Several universities have decried the score as unacceptable. The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has condemned it. Foremost lawyer, university administrator and educationist, Afe Babalola, has rejected the 120 score. No university worthy of its name would admit a 30 per cent scorer as good material.

Coming to the lifting of the ban on the post-UTME test, there is no doubt that the universities want the post-UTME test for monetary purposes. The test is not there to get the best university materials. Why test someone who has already failed with 30 per cent?

From experience, the test is highly compromised. It is needless fixing the fee to be charged by the universities. The cost cannot be the same across the country because the cost of living is not regulated.

What about the risk of travelling across to the institutions to take the test? The attendant risks on our accident-prone highways infested with criminals are enormous. A lot of students and their parents/guardians have lost their lives on the highways travelling to take post-UTME test. Why must Nigerians be subjected to avoidable suffering?

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) announced the outrageously very low cut-off marks after the so-called 2017 Combined Policy Meeting on Admissions into Tertiary Institutions in Abuja.

Why can’t the institutions be allowed to fix their cut-off marks to create distinction and scholarship? Why must all the institutions be on the same scale? Where in the world does this obtain?

According to the JAMB registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, the cut-off marks for universities were set for 120 (30 per cent); polytechnics and colleges of education 100 (25 per cent), while that of innovative enterprising institutes was pegged at 110 (28 per cent). These cut-off marks clearly show that there is no need for JAMB anymore.

Must everybody go to university? Why can’t there be middle-level education after secondary school for those who could not make it to universities?
Oloyede’s assertion that not every person who scored 120 would be admitted is baseless. Are we talking of the chances of being admitted or the scandalous admission of failures? Many 120 scorers would certainly be admitted. What legacy would Oloyede, who is known to be a non-conformist, leave for posterity?

The institutions for which those abject failures are meant are expected to compete in today’s 21st century knowledge-driven world, where China, Japan, Asian Tigers, USA and countries in the European Union are operating in stiff competition.

And as if that is not enough, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu added insult to injury by announcing the re-introduction of post-UTME test, which he personally banned barely a year ago. Why make a U-turn belatedly? Universities have nearly completed admissions. Why make a compromise?

It is unbecoming for the Minister of Education to say unabashedly that “Cancellation of post-UTME is a mistake.” Who made the mistake? Certainly, no other person could have made that costly mistake but the minister himself.

The first thing Malam Adamu did on assumption of office as Minister was to announce the scrapping of post-UTME test. He was lauded for taking a positive step in the national interest. But he is now telling us that he made a mistake. Could that be the final mistake? How do we guarantee the decisions he has been making as Minister?

The minister had declared that the Federal Government has confidence in the examinations conducted by JAMB, hence, there was no need to further subject candidates to unnecessary tests, given, especially, the mounting corruption, favouritism and bribery that had assailed the test.

Is the same Adamu now saying that the Federal Government no longer has confidence in JAMB? What a bundle of ruinous inconsistencies being visited on Nigeria by those who are supposed to know better? How is it that those entrusted with education are toying with the country’s future?

There is nowhere in the known wide world that 30 per cent is accepted as pass in any examination. This madness has serious implications on degrees awarded by Nigerian universities. Already, degrees from Nigeria don’t qualify for direct employment abroad. Graduates who want to pursue higher degrees abroad are subjected to further examinations.

Probably, this is being done to accommodate the poorly performing candidates from the North, the same way admission into Federal Government colleges is skewed in their favour. Candidates with two marks are admitted while those with 135 from the South are left out.

How would the block heads and dullards being herded into some glorified, ill-equipped and strike-weary universities match the state-of-the-art ICT-driven fist class education abroad?

There are innovative ways to accommodate those with poor performance if the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Education, is serious and sincerely wants to do the right thing in the national interest.

This same system abolished the Higher School Certificate (HSC) through which brainy candidates are prepared for university education. What is wrong with Nigeria? Why are we moving backwards with delight? It is truism that if you want to develop a people, you give them education but if you want to destroy them, you take away education. Nigeria is being destroyed. The abhorable cut-marks should be reversed while the post-UTME test should remain banned.

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JAMBMalam Adamu Adamu
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