The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) was created with the best intention of ensuring seamless process of admission into universities in Nigeria by qualified candidates.
For many years, JAMB fulfilled this mandate with admiration and commendation, to the satisfaction of candidates and their parents. Then, JAMB was synonymous with excellence in examination practice-the process was simple and forward. And those that failed to make the mark did not complain, they simply knew they did not measure up to the challenge.
They prepared for the following year. Today, the situation is very critical. To gain admission into public universities in Nigeria today is comparable to climbing Mount Everest-the highest mountain in the world.
JAMB and its management have effectively turned the admission examination body into an image of confusion and extortion. Every year, millions of Nigerian youths desirous of university education are milked like cow by JAMB through a criminal network of official and unofficial bottlenecks, whose primary objective is to extort as much money from the candidates and their parents as possible, without any guarantee of admission.
To create official cover for this endless confusion, JAMB created what it called the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and later imposed what it called ‘cut-off marks’ for post-UTME test by various universities.
And to make the situation more cumbersome, the sane JAMB again created what it also called ‘Paper-Based and Computer-Based’ examination modules, without making efforts to test-run these latter-day initiatives before unloading them on helpless and innocent candidates.
The result is confusion everywhere. JAMB is confused. The universities are confused. And the candidates seeking admission into universities through JAMB are even more confused.
The introduction of technology in the examination process is always a welcome development. The problem is not introducing technology. The challenge is preparing the candidates on the use of such technology before the date of the examination.
It is stating the obvious to say that majority of the candidates might just be seeing or working on computers and laptops for the very first time because our education system at the primary and secondary levels have not taught and equipped them with the knowledge and capacity to use same.
It is important to emphasise here that university education is the bedrock for sustainable socio-economic growth and development, especially in the current era of technology.
Again, nations that are desirous of moving ahead and taking a lofty place in the comity of nations cannot toy with their education sector, especially, the universities. In our candid opinion, JAMB has failed and should be scrapped immediately.
The nation’s quest for inclusion amongst the top 20 nations of the world by the year 2020 will continue to remain a day dream until we sort out the root of the crisis in our education sector.
Indeed, keeping JAMB alive to be milking millions of helpless candidates every year through a confused and discredited admission examination process will not help Nigeria.
Those in authority should summon the needed courage and do the needful: sack JAMB and initiate a robust and transparent process to rework university admission in the country.