Why three-year validity for UTME result is yet to stay

JAMB
Increasing lifespan to invalidate 345m examination questions

Nearly one year after the Senate moved to get the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), to begin the process of extending the validity of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) result to three years, nothing has happened along this line.

In fact, JAMB says it is yet to be communicated to by either the National Assembly, or any other organ of government, regarding the issue, which many parents and guardians are passionate about.

Last November, the issue dominated talks following a motion entitled: “JAMB’s New Admission Policy,” which was sponsored by Senator Joshua Lidani, APC, Gombe South.

During the matter, which was debated at plenary, the Senate also urged JAMB to consult widely with Parent-Teacher Association, the Academic Staff Union of Universities and other stakeholders with a view to coming out with a holistic, comprehensive and sustainable admissions policy.

But in an exclusive interview with The Guardian, Head of Public Relations at JAMB, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, said, We are aware that Senate debated the issue sometimes ago, but we are yet to get any directive from government to the effect that we have to increase the validity period of UTME results.”

He added that, “Even though increasing the validity is an expensive process, once such a directive comes, we will comply with it at whatever cost.

“As a government agency, we work with policy directives, and as we speak, none has come to us on this issue. We are fully aware that the issues were discussed at the National Assembly, but we are yet to be communicated to,” he stated.

On the process that needs to be put in place for the validity extension to be possible, he said, “After the NASS had passed a resolution, the next step is to communicate such to the executive, which would in turn send it to the National Council on Education, which is the highest decision making body for appropriate action. Until this process plays out, we as an institution cannot do anything for now.”

Some Nigerians are of the belief that JAMB is not favourably disposed to the increased validity, Benjamin says the reverse is actually the case because of what the country intends to benefit from the extension.

“Some people have ignorantly claimed that JAMB is not interested in the extension of the validity of the UTME results, but that is not true. In fact we are also championing the idea because it would help the country on several fronts. For instance, if a candidate fails to get the required scores for admission into a university this year, such a candidate would not sit back at home for the entire three years before writing another UTME. Never.

Instead, such persons will explore other avenues of acquiring higher education. Teacher education, as well as, technical and vocational education would receive a boost on account of this because these people will not just sit back and wait to write the next set of examination I the next three years.

He said the UTME architecture, as presently structured, would be completely changed once we move from one-year validity to three-year validity, and the reason is this: “The essence of the UTME examination as presently obtained is for selection for placement in tertiary institutions. In other words, it is an achievement test. But if the validity period must increase, it must be changed to an aptitude test. Until that architecture is changed, the validity period cannot be lengthen.

Speaking further on the cost implication, he said, “At every point in time, we have at least 15million questions on each of the 23 subjects that we test candidates on, in our databank. All these questions would be wasted because they are calibrated according to achievement architecture. So, if we are going to three-year validity, we need to redesign and calibrate questions to aptitude test standard.

He continued, “This would come at a huge cost because the because the process of setting out examination question is very cumbersome and expensive for the mere fact that we run an all-inclusive system because all relevant stakeholders, including all tertiary institutions are involved in the setting of our questions except where there are no subject specialists in the universities.



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