JAMB’s ad­mis­sion guide­lines

Daily Trust - - OPINION -

The Joint Ad­mis­sions and Ma­tric­u­la­tion Board ( JAMB) re­cently is­sued guide­lines for ad­mis­sion of can­di­dates into fed­eral, state and pri­vate uni­ver­si­ties in Nige­ria for the 2016/2017 aca­demic ses­sion. An­nounce­ment of the guide­lines fol­lowed a week-long meet­ing held with ad­min­is­tra­tors of uni­ver­si­ties and other ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions in Nige­ria. The new set of guide­lines which con­sist of some pa­ram­e­ters called the Point Sys­tem Op­tion (PSO) au­tho­rizes ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions to charge fees for screen­ing of can­di­dates seek­ing ad­mis­sion through the Uni­fied Ter­tiary Ma­tric­u­la­tion Ex­am­i­na­tion (UTME) and Di­rect En­try (DE).

Ac­cord­ing to the guide­lines, a can­di­date must have been of­fered pro­vi­sional ad­mis­sion by JAMB be­fore he/she could be con­sid­ered for screen­ing by an ad­mit­ting in­sti­tu­tion. In the PSO guide­lines, a can­di­date who sub­mits only one Se­nior Sec­ondary Cer­tifi­cate Ex­am­i­na­tion (SSCE) re­sult which could be from WAEC, NECO or NABTEB earns ten points while an­other who com­bines two sep­a­rate re­sults earned after two sit­tings only earns two points, putting the lat­ter at a dis­ad­van­tage. PSO also grades the credit level passes ob­tained by can­di­dates in each sub­ject into dif­fer­ent points. These are A=6, B=4, and C=3; this lim­its the ad­mis­sion chances of a can­di­date with lower credit pass even though A, B, and C are all credit passes.

The guide­lines also pro­vide for a group­ing of UTME scores. Can­di­dates who scored 180-185 get 20 points; those who scored 186-190 get 21 points; can­di­dates with 200-250 get 24-33 points; and can­di­dates with300-400 get 44-60 points. Ac­cord­ing to JAMB, it is the tally of points ob­tained by a can­di­date from these re­grad­ing and col­la­tion sys­tems that de­ter­mine his/her ad­mis­sion into a univer­sity or other ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions.

It is ob­vi­ous from these PSO de­tails that JAMB is act­ing out­side its man­date, ar­ro­gat­ing to it­self pow­ers that be­long to ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions and the Fed­eral Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion (FME). For in­stance, the pa­ram­e­ter which gives ten points to a can­di­date with one re­sult and two points for two re­sults is an un­due in­ter­fer­ence with ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions’ man­date. The ul­ti­mate au­thor­ity on aca­demic mat­ters in­clud­ing ad­mis­sion re­quire­ments and award of de­grees in a univer­sity is its Se­nate, not JAMB. Se­nate re­serves the right to stip­u­late that can­di­dates who ob­tained five credit passes in rel­e­vant sub­jects at not more than two sit­tings are el­i­gi­ble for ad­mis­sion.

JAMB’s re-grad­ing of credit passes ob­tained by can­di­dates in SSCE is also dis­crim­i­na­tory. It is not part of JAMB’s sched­ule, after ex­am­i­na­tion bod­ies have dis­tin­guished be­tween credit passes, to fur­ther dis­crim­i­nate be­tween the grades. Fur­ther anal­y­sis of the fi­nal grades ob­tained in SSCE is ir­rel­e­vant in this process as a credit pass is enough in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the grade re­quired for ad­mis­sion pur­poses. Fur­ther col­la­tion of UTME scores with points al­lo­cated for each range of scores only pro­vides ba­sis for in­ter­ro­gat­ing the va­lid­ity of the UTME scores which re­sults orig­i­nated from the same JAMB, which set and ad­min­is­tered the UTME.

The au­thor­ity given to in­sti­tu­tions to col­lect ad­min­is­tra­tive charges from can­di­dates dur­ing ad­mis­sion ex­er­cise proves our fears that fi­nan­cial gain is the main mo­tive. It also sug­gests that the scrapped post-UTME is be­ing smug­gled in through the back­door. JAMB seeks to re­place the scrapped post-UTME with an­other post-UTME screen­ing named PSO. Only re­cently, Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion Malam Adamu Adamu an­nounced the scrap­ping of post-UTME after a stake­hold­ers’ meet­ing in Abuja. The min­is­ter also di­rected JAMB to stop charg­ing N1,000 paid by each can­di­date for ac­cess­ing UTME re­sults.

Even if there are good mo­tives be­hind PSO, an­nounc­ing such only after the re­lease of UTME re­sults and after a cut-off point for ad­mis­sion had been set does not speak well of JAMB. Some stake­hold­ers are al­ready call­ing for the scrap­ping of JAMB since the ad­mis­sion buck stops at the ta­ble of each in­sti­tu­tion. JAMB should re­strict it­self to its statu­tory man­date. JAMB should also im­prove upon the sys­tem fail­ure en­coun­tered in the 2016 UTME and avert a re­peat of the al­lo­ca­tion of 40 marks to can­di­dates for free.

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