By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA – The National Association of Nigerian Students NANS has thrown its support behind ongoing efforts to introduce reforms in the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board JAMB, urging the board’s registrar, Prof. Is’haq Oloyede not to be dettered by the antics of detractors.
Speaking at a news conference in Abuja, on the forthcoming Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and its attendant issues, NANS President, Aruna Kadiri said, “as a result of public outcry against the accomplishments of the Board and the obvious shortcomings in its modus operandi, the need for a general overhauling and introduction of far reaching reforms becomes not only desirable but imminent. This is necessary to restore the dwindling fortunes of the board”.
According to him, a thorough academic background check of intakes is most sacrosanct in order to ensure that only qualified candidates are chosen for admission into the nation’s tertiary institutions of learning.
“However, over the years, the JAMB which is the extant body saddled with the conduct of such background check through the usage of matriculation examinations had faltered in the discharge of this all important responsibility. Cases of wide spread examination malpractices, examination questions leakages, admission racketeering and many more untoward activities had characterized JAMB operations in the past.
“In view of these glaring shortcomings and perceived inadequacies, the committee of vice chancellors resolved in 2007 to conduct a post university matriculation examination as a further screening means for applicants. This, of course is a direct assault on the capacity of the JAMB to superintend a credible and generally acceptable examination for applicants” NANS said.
The association added that since coming into office, the Prof. Is’haq Oloyede-led leadership of JAMB has introduced far reaching reforms in its operations and conduct of examinations.
“These are to safeguard the credibility of the UTME. Unlike before, all JAMB approved examination centres are now equipped with examination computers and CCTV cameras to track down any form of examination malpractices within and outside the halls. Candidates are therefore expected to spend more time to study and adequately prepare for the examination rather than look for leaked questions as cheating in any form will be picked by the CCTV camera while the entire results will be cancelled”.
The innovative mock UTME to be conducted for those who are taking the computer based test examinations for the first time, apart from aiding concerned candidates in having a feel of what the main examination will look like will also enable the board to be adequately prepared for the main examination as it will be able to identify shortcomings to be addressed in the main examination, NANS noted.
“Also, unlike in previous years where the services of cyber cafe owners were employed for the registration of UTME candidates, under the leadership of the new registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, only accredited centres by JAMB will be patronised for e-registration for this year and subsequent examinations.
“Ahead of the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, JAMB has agreed on a harmonised timetable with other examination bodies in the country to have a hitch free examination. The bodies agreed that for the purpose of the 2017 UTME, JAMB will shift its examinations forward to allow students write WAEC, NECO and NABTEB examinations.
“NANS considers these reforms as far reaching and capable of restoring the negatively skewed image of JAMB. The leadership of NANS is in total support of these reforms.
“The coming UTME slated for late next month is a major litmus test for the success of these reforms. It is our considered opinion that all Nigerians of good conscience should rise up in unison in support of the Board in its quest to undertake a reliable and credible examination. We are not oblivious of the fact that like all reforms, the turnaround in JAMB would have its attendant collateral shortfalls. These are manifested in some already resolved technical hiccups. Notwithstanding, these little hiccups have not and cannot in any way undermine the capability of the Prof. Oloyede-led JAMB to conduct a transparent and credible UMTE”, Kadiri stated.