Re: End­ing JAMB’S ex­ploita­tion of hap­less can­di­dates

The Punch - - EDITORIAL -

The ar­ti­cle by Olu­wole Ak­in­jay­oju in the Novem­ber 29, 2018 edi­tion of The PUNCH, on the above mat­ter refers. Specif­i­cally, if one may re­cap, within the first year of as­sump­tion of of­fice, the Reg­is­trar of the Joint Ad­mis­sions and Ma­tric­u­la­tion Board, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, paid an un­prece­dented sum of N7.8bn into the fed­er­a­tion ac­count. His “em­i­nent” pre­de­ces­sors had only strug­gled to re­mit a pal­try N3m to N15m yearly to gov­ern­ment.

Speak­ing at the pol­icy meet­ing of Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion Stake­hold­ers at the Nige­rian Ju­di­cial In­sti­tute, Abuja, shortly af­ter the first lodge­ment of N5bn by JAMB, the Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion, Mal­lam Adamu Adamu, said the amount was 400 times more than the agency had ever gen­er­ated in its 40-year his­tory.

The pay­ment shocked all and sundry, sur­pass­ing the wildest dreams of both the gov­ern­ment and all watch­ers of the in­dus­try. Both the min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion and his then coun­ter­part in the fi­nance min­istry, Mrs. Kemi Adeo­sun, had hith­erto set what they con­sid­ered a tar­get of N500m, which was even op­ti­mistic and am­bi­tious judged by pre­vi­ous records.

So far, over N15bn has been paid into the fed­er­a­tion ac­count by JAMB. Al­ready, Oloyede’s pos­i­tive im­pact in the sec­tor has re­sulted into al­most 37 per cent re­duc­tion of ex­am­i­na­tion fees from N5,000 to N3,500.

Out­side JAMB, Oloyede’s wor­thy ex­am­ple has led to the pay­ment of al­most N2bn into the fed­er­a­tion ac­count, by the Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Coun­cil. The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has also re­duced the NECO fees by 10 per cent from N11,500 to N9,850, all these to some how­ever is no big deal.

In his ar­ti­cle, Ak­in­jay­oju dis­missed Oloyede’s huge pay­ments into the gov­ern­ment purse as a prod­uct of the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of the ex­am­i­na­tion body, and the re­sult­ing ex­ploita­tion of hap­less can­di­dates. he cites the pay­ment of N1,500 for the chang­ing of cour­ses within an in­sti­tu­tion and N2,500 for change of in­sti­tu­tion as ev­i­dence of such charges that had boosted the rev­enue of the ex­am­i­na­tion body.

One must ap­pre­ci­ate the ef­fort of the writer whose sud­den wake-up from slum­ber must be ap­pre­ci­ated in this new era when JAMB, as a gov­ern­ment agency, is re­turn­ing gen­er­ated funds into the fed­er­a­tion ac­count. Alas, where was Ak­in­jay­oju in the years pre­ced­ing this era, when JAMB was op­er­at­ing vir­tu­ally at a loss due to non-re­mis­sion of gen­er­ated funds into the fed­er­a­tion ac­count even af­ter charg­ing the same fees? A lit­tle in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the past would have re­vealed to him that those amounts com­plained of were the same un­der Oloyede’s pre­de­ces­sors, yet they had con­trib­uted vir­tu­ally noth­ing to the fed­er­a­tion ac­count. The new JAMB man­age­ment has not in­creased the hith­erto charged fees by a dime.

A sim­i­lar at­tempt by some crit­ics ap­peared in one of the dailies last Oc­to­ber. They at­tempted to use a sec­tion of the Nige­rian stu­dents to ar­tic­u­late their cause. As it turned out, the in­ten­tion of the au­thors was to frus­trate a coura­geous ef­fort by the Oloyede man­age­ment to tackle an­other canker­worm in the na­tion’s ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, the late ad­mis­sion (reg­u­lar­i­sa­tion) sys­tem. It is a sys­tem whereby a num­ber of Nige­rian in­sti­tu­tions ad­mit large num­bers of un­qual­i­fied and in­el­i­gi­ble can­di­dates through the back­door. They are then pre­sented at the end of their pro­grammes for reg­u­lar­i­sa­tion even when a ma­jor­ity of these can­di­dates had yet to ad­dress the de­fects in their en­try qual­i­fi­ca­tions in­clud­ing the fun­da­men­tal pre-req­ui­site of credit in English Lan­guage and Math­e­mat­ics. This sys­tem has been frowned on by the cur­rent man­age­ment where con­certed ef­forts have been made to stop it hence­forth.

Granted that Oloyede has been able to turn the for­tunes of the agency around, re­turn­ing over N7.8bn into the na­tional purse within the first year of his re­sump­tion shall re­main a big puz­zle for a long time to come.

No won­der, in quick re­sponse to the de­vel­op­ment, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment quickly set up an in­quiry into the man­age­ment of the agency by Oloyede’s pre­de­ces­sors.

Any hon­est ob­server would how­ever re­call that it was through the sani­ti­sa­tion of the en­tire JAMB sys­tem which came with Oloyede that it be­came pos­si­ble for can­di­dates to pur­chase JAMB forms at the of­fi­cial rate of N5,000. Be­fore his com­ing, get­ting the forms at that price was the ex­cep­tion rather than the rule as hord­ing of scratch cards was preva­lent.

One of the far-reach­ing mea­sures taken was the scrap­ping of the scratch cards sys­tem for the pur­chase of ad­mis­sion forms. Oloyede democra­tised the pro­cure­ment sys­tem to en­sure di­rect ac­cess of can­di­dates to JAMB forms. In­stead of just one or two banks, a mul­ti­pronged ap­proach in­volv­ing vir­tu­ally all Nige­rian banks and Com­puter Based Test cen­tres and the use of POS was adopted.

To stem the ex­ploita­tion of can­di­dates by owners of busi­ness cen­tres, JAMB evolved a sys­tem whereby can­di­dates can use their GSM num­bers to cre­ate their pro­files.

Con­trary to the writer’s claim, Oloyede has waged an un­prece­dented and very suc­cess­ful war against the mas­sive ex­ploita­tion of can­di­dates by the CBT cen­tres, the so-called mir­a­cle cen­tres and tu­to­rial op­er­a­tors, who had en­gaged in mind­less ex­ploita­tion of can­di­dates in the past. For in­stance, in place of the ap­proved N5,000, can­di­dates ob­tained forms at the mir­a­cle cen­tres at N20,000. The so-called VIP can­di­dates paid up to N200,000 to the CBT cen­tres just to al­low some­one in to as­sist the can­di­dates to take the ex­am­i­na­tion. Judged by all stan­dards, what has hap­pened in JAMB in the past two years is a great joy and in­spi­ra­tion to all pa­tri­ots that our coun­try can still boast men of im­mense com­pe­tence and pro­found in­tegrity. •Akanni Ak­ing­boye

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