By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA— THE Senate, yesterday, directed the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, to begin to extend the validity of its results to a period of three years.
To this end, results obtained from the board by candidates seeking admission into universities are expected to last for three years.
The red chamber, which order came following a motion entitled: ”JAMB’s New Admission Policy, “ sponsored by Senator Joshua Lidani, APC, Gombe South, which was debated during plenary, also urged JAMB to consult widely with Parents Teachers Association, ASUU and all other stakeholders in the education sector with a view to coming out with a friendlier holistic, comprehensive and sustainable admissions policy.
It also directed its Committee on Education to enquire into circumstances surrounding the JAMB policy, including all allegations of favouritism and generally review the power of JAMB vis-a-vis administration and submit findings within one week.
Earlier, in his motion, Senator Lidani frowned at the JAMB’s policy of posting candidates to schools, including private universities whose fees, he noted, were beyond the means of the candidates’ parents or guardians, saying in some cases, candidate were posted to universities located far away from their places of abode thus placing additional financial burden on their parents.
Lidani expressed worry that although the Federal Ministry of Education had since suspended the implementation of this policy, JAMB was still going ahead with its implementation, thus creating more hardship for parents and uncertainty in the education sector.
He said he was concerned given that the policy runs contrary to the letters and spirit of Section 5(1)(C) iii of the JAMB Act, which according to him, requires that JAMB should take into account preferences of the candidates in their choices of schools and the subsequent confusion surrounding the directive that only candidates whose names were forwarded to the university by JAMB were eligible for post-UTME screening and others would have to go back to JAMB website to find out their new institutions.
Senator Lidani expressed concern that since the policy was announced, the board was faced with series of massive protests by parents and candidates of and some organizations like the Association of Tutorial School Operators of Nigeria as well as other numerous stakeholders.
He said JAMB, at its 2015 Combined Policy Meeting, held on July 14, 2015, in Abuja, announced the adoption of a policy whereby candidates of universities with surplus applicants for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations, UTME, were reassigned to other universities with lower number of candidates than their capacities.
While noting that JAMB was a board created by an Act of the National Assembly in 1989 to administer a centralized admission for universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in Nigeria.
He further noted that by Section 5(1) (C) iii of the JAMB Act 2004, the function of the board, among other things, was the general control of the conduct of the matriculation examinations for admission into all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education and also include the placement of suitable qualified candidates in the tertiary institutions having taken into account, the preferences expressed or otherwise indicated by candidates for certain tertiary institutions and courses.