By Emmanuel Elebeke
IT is no longer news that the 2016 Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB recorded mass failure, no thanks to imported technology.
At least, it was reported that more than half of the total number of students who sat for the examination failed for their first time in any exams.
However, the Association of Tutorial School Operators (ATSO) said it decided to investigate the cause knowing that some of the students who didn’t make good results in that examination were very bright brains.
Now, the body has made public its findings, saying the real cause of the calamity was that JAMB marked the 2016 UTME with wrong software.
The group also alleged that the board erroneously used the software from last year to grade this year’s examination. It said the error was responsible for the poor and conflicting results that were released for the examination written between February 27 and March 17 in over 500 centres nationwide.
Incidentally, the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, seems to agree with that report as it recently revealed that an imported software, which is ten times less in quality than the local brand was used by JAMB in marking the 2016 exams.
The Director General of the agency, Isa Ibrahim, who disclosed this, said the country is also at the risk of losing $143 billion to importation of foreign technology and services by year 2020, if nothing is done to stop the trend now.
The NITDA boss while blaming JAMB for also said that his agency shares in the blame for not doing what it was supposed to do.
NITDA is the regulatory body empowered by an Act of National Assembly to regulate the use of technology in Nigeria.
“We need to minimise the way these foreign software flood into the country otherwise our local currency will never be strengthened”.
Isa expressed surprise that a wrong software could be installed into the JAMB system for innocent students whose destinies lie on the examination when there was a local cable with far better quality in the country, just because of the lust for foreign products.
‘’During our investigation we realised the fault was in the cable that was installed and the cable was imported, while we have another one which is manufactured here in Nigeria and is 10 times better than the imported one. All these are because NITDA has not been strictly regulating these practices as we ought to do.
‘’We have people that are talented, if they travel abroad they will continue to invent but when they come back home, they will be marginalised why? We do not value anything that is from us” Isa noted.
However, spokesman for JAMB, Dr Benjamin Fabian said that people are mistaking the way JAMB’s examinations work. “Our exams are not failed-passed exams. In principle, everybody that sits for our exams passes. However, we select candidates based on the criteria and standards set by different institutions. It is when these candidates did not meet those requirements that they are considered failed, so I do not understand that there was massive failure in our exams.
Fabian, however declined to speak on the allegation that JAMB used foreign software in the marking scheme, saying that he did not understand the allegation.