Do We Really Need JAMB?
“UTME is a child of necessity. It is assumed that all candidates who applied to get into the universities will all be qualified. If they are not qualified, no institution will take them. The qualification is for them to have five credits at the o’ level. People have missed the point by saying that the UTME is the qualification. I think that may be true for those who don’t have the access to education outside Nigeria. If you move outside Nigeria and you go to Republic of Benin, or Ghana, nobody will ask you about UTME. But they will ask about school certificate. That means that the real qualification is the school certificate.”
-- Prof. Ishaq Oloyede responding on 99.3 Nigeria Info - Morning Crossfire.
Favorite Prof. Ishaq Quotes
"In JAMB, we have studied the situation of examination malpractice and have employed native intelligence. The possibility to be detected is higher now. Nine out of ten persons involved in exam malpractice would be caught" ~ Prof Ishaq Oloyede.
"Examination malpractice has become a cankerworm. It is a war and a real problem across the world" ~ Prof. Ishaq Oloyede.
"The emphasis on UTME is misplaced. It is just a process of ranking qualified candidates. UTME is not the deciding factor but the school certificate. Unfortunately, there are so many people who see themselves as public commentators," ~ Prof. Ishaq Oloyede.
"The syllabus for the UTME is higher that than of WASSCE" ~ Prof. Ishaq Oloyede.
How UTME Questions are Prepared
The questions are prepared by experts, says Ishaq. There are syllabuses for those who take the exams. These questions or the syllabuses don’t generate from Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE). Candidates are only required to take one SSCE examination, be it Cambridge, or NECO’s SSCE or GCE. The choice belongs to the candidate. Those are self-imposed examinations. The candidate is only required to take one of them.
A quick look at JAMB’s website reveals the mandate of the examination body. According to the front page of www.jamb.gov.ng, “The legal instrument establishing the Board was promulgated by the Act (No. 2 of 1978) of the Federal Military Government on 13th February, 1978. By August 1988, the Federal Executive Council amended Decree No. 2 of 1978. The amendments have since been codified into Decree No. 33 of 1989, which took effect from 7th December, 1989. Decree No. 2 of 1978 (amended by Decree No. 33 of 1989) empowered the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board to: (a) conduct Matriculation Examination for entry into all Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education (by whatever name called) in Nigeria.”
UTME, which does not have much definition on JAMB’s website about what it is, receives attention on Wikipedia: The Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) conducted by JAMB is a computer-based standardized examination for prospective undergraduates in Nigeria. It is designed to assess problem solving, critical thinking, knowledge of scientific concepts and principles significance of each subject taken. Prior to 2014 the exam was a paper-and-pencil test; since May 17, 2014, however, all administrations of the exam have been computer-based.
However, Ishaq gave a very good illustration for what UTME really is: A father is going out on a journey with 10 children. They are all qualified to go on that journey but the bus can only take five of them. The father sets examination for them so that the first five can go. “So, if someone scores 9/10, another scores 4/10, three others score 2/10, and others score zero and you’re to pick, you would pick among those who scored 2/10 because it is a ranking exam.”
Do State Universities Really Trust JAMB?
Prof. Ishaq didn’t deny this because he believes “anybody can have their own opinion” as it is evident that the public have this as an opinion, although Ishaq says nobody has told him that directly up till now. But the increase in revenue generated by JAMB and the giving back to the government is becoming controversial in Nigeria, as Wemimo points out. In 2017, JAMB remitted 50 billion naira to government which is much more than what was remitted “in the whole of six previous years.” Ishaq replies that he didn’t do anything extraordinary. However, he claims that his team doesn’t waste resources and would never allow other people to take undue advantage of the system.
Curbing Exam Malpractices
According to International Knowledge Sharing Platform, “Examination malpractice has been seen as a cankerworm which has eaten deep into the fabric of all examination in Nigeria.” But what are the various ways by which the teaching of moral education could solve the menace of examination malpractice in Nigeria?
Ishaq says that is the crux of the matter. He said examination malpractice as a cankerworm, is not just a Nigerian problem but also a foreign problem. “We can even thank God that it has not taken the dimensions it has taken in the developed world. It’s a war! It’s a real problem for all examination bodies worldwide. The more technology you have, the more candidates and their instigators try to beat the system.”
JAMB is ready to encounter and solve the issue at all times. “What we are doing is to study the situation, we deploy technology, we employ native intelligence, and we are fast to sanction anyone who crosses the red line. The possibility of being detected is now higher. In other words, there’s the possibility that nine out of 10 of those who commit examination malpractices will be apprehended and sanctioned," says Prof. Ishaq.
Follow the converstation of Twitter @NigeriainfoFM
Morning Crossfire with Wemimo (@wemimospot) & Sheriff (@SheriffQuadry), alongside Rotimi Sankore (@RotimiSankore)
Resource Person: Prof Ishaq Olojede (JAMB Registrar)
Written and posted by Jude Chukwuemeka