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Validating UTME exams for 3 years harmful —JAMB Registrar

•Senate makes U-turn, suspends amendment of JAMB Establishment Act

The Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Isha’aq Oloyede, has said that the bill seeking to validate the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) for three years will do more harm than good.

Oloyede said this when he received a delegation of the Senate Committee on Education in his office, in Bwari, FCT, on Wednesday.

He said that he appreciates the good intentions behind the proposal, but said the approach may not solve the problem it seeks to address.

This came as the Senate reversed its earlier resolution extending the validity of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination result conducted by JAMB from one year to three years.

The Upper Chamber also announced the suspension of the amendment processes of the JAMB Establishment Act to allow wider consultation with the relevant stakeholders and experts.

Oloyede, speaking during the visit, said “They (Senators) must have considered many things before arriving at the decision.

“My appeal to the House of Representatives and the President is that it will do more harm to students than good.

“When there is a problem, rather than study it and look for strategy to solve them, we will jump into conclusion which can be 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.”

However, the leader of the visiting delegation, Senator Ajayi Boroffice (APC-Ondo), said the policy would benefit Nigerians if adopted eventually.

Boroffice, representing Ondo North Senatorial District, said that the bill had passed the second reading and would soon undergo public hearing.

According to him, the bill, when passed, would also help to improve the educational standard in higher institutions in the country.

“Bills are passed in stages and one of the most important stages is the public hearing.

“When public hearing is held, JAMB, schools and the public will be invited to make inputs.

“Once that is done, we will collate it and send to Senate for third reading.

“We saw that JAMB result is only valid for one year and we believe it will be better for it to last for three years.

“It will reduce burden on parents, students and even on the institution that is conducting aptitude test; I think it is what is good for all of us.

“We do not make laws for an individual, but for the country and in the interest of all of us, the bill must not necessarily be at the convenience of the organisation.

“Since we do not want to make laws that will impede the progress of any institution, we are bound to listen to what they are saying.’’

He, however, commended the board on the remarkable progress made in the past and urged the management to continue to improve on their performance.

“The lives of millions of Nigerians depend on the board and I hope that the confidence they repose in the organisation will be justified.”

He said that the committee would pay regular visit to the JAMB office in a bid to ensure proper delivery of its oversight function in the organisation.

Head of Information of JAMB, Dr Fabian Benjamin, in a statement on Wednesday, in Abuja, said the Chairman, Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education, Aliyu Wamakko, represented by Senator Ajayi Boroffice, made the announcement about the suspension of the amendment during an oversight visit to the headquarters of JAMB.

Registrar and Chief Executive of JAMB, Prof Oloyede in his reaction, said he was happy the senate listened to its appeal.

He further appealed to members of the House of Representatives and the Executive to tow the line of the senate by suspending the amended Act.

Oloyede 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.

“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 programme different from the one they are doing.

“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.”