By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
The Senate on Wednesday said it has suspended the amendment of the Act establishing the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in order to allow for adequate consultation with stakeholders.The red chamber had approved the extension of the validity of the results of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) being conducted by JAMB to three years.
The decision, the senate had said, was granted to reduce the financial burden of the examination on parents, students and JAMB.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Education (Basic and Secondary), Senator AliyuWamakko, confirmed the suspension to reporters during an oversight visit to the headquarters of JAMB in Abuja.
Wamakko, who was represented by Senator Ajayi Boroffice, stated that the senate would not make any laws that would impede on the progress of any institution.
He said: “Your JAMB result is only valid for one year and we thought it will be better for it to be valid at least for three years. It will reduce the burden on the parents, on the students themselves even on the institution that is conducting the test. I think it is what is good for all of us and I don’t think the public will reject it.
“As I said we don’t make laws for an individual or for the senate. We make law for the country in the interest of all of us. A bill must not necessarily be at the convenience of a particular organization, having said that, since we don’t want to make a law that will impede the progress of any institution we are bound to listen to what they are saying. We are bound to listen to them.”
Wamakko, who is representing Sokoto North Senatorial District, commended JAMB for the progress it has recorded so far, urging the examination body to improve on its successes.
“I think JAMB has made so much progress over the years and all we can say is that they should continue to improve on their performance because the lives of millions of Nigerians will depend on them and I hope the confidence they will repose in them they will be able to justify it. We are happy with our visit, we are happy with the registrar, we are happy with the management and I think we are happy with ourselves too,” he added.
Responding, JAMB Registrar, Is-haq Oloyede, said he was happy the senate listened to its appeal to suspend the amendment of its Act.
Prof. Oloyede urged members of the House of Representatives and the Executive to tow the line of the senate by giving room for consultation with stakeholders.
According to him, the extension of its UTME result to three years would do more harm than good.
He said: “I believe that they must have considered so many things before coming to that conclusion at that time but my appeal is to the other legs – the House of Representatives and to the President that it will do more harm to the students than good.
“One problem I find is that when there is a problem rather than studying the problem and look for strategy to solving them we will jump into conclusion which is more dangerous than the original problem.
“When you look at the issue of three years somebody mentioned that that is what is done in Britain and US. There is a basic difference. They are conducting aptitude test and aptitude test will last longer. We are conducting achievement test and you can’t compare the two. If you want to go in that direction why not but there will be change of infrastructure, everything will be in place. You don’t midway into a system.
“For instance when you make that type of law you have not contacted NUC to say ‘NUC change your syllabus.’ You want to admit somebody you conduct the exam today the intension is to test the ability of the student to cope with university education at the 100 Level for instance. If they change the syllabus our exam must change and that will not synchronize with your three years. You will having a set of students who are tested for a programmedifferent from the one they are doing.”
Oloyede blamed the lack of admission of students by institution on mismatch.
According to him, the policy to allocate 60/40 for sciences and art for admission by universities does not support the school system which produces 80 per cent art students and 20 per cent science students.
This, he said, does not allow the institutions to fulfill their admission quota every year.
“When you talk about students not been admitted, it is because of mismatch and when you say for instance most of the universities must take 60 science 40 arts and in some cases it goes as far as 70/30 and you have these policies in place but you are producing from the school system 80% art, 20% science and you want all of them to go.
“The question I want the legislators to ask is: ‘why is it that we are not filling our quota every year?’ That is where to start because we are not filing the quota. It is not a matter of space alone. There are other issues. There is systemic issue that should be addressed. Making such a law will not be helpful in anyway,” he stated.