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Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Stakeholders want uniform admission process into tertiary institutions – NAN survey (II)

Stakeholders want uniform admission process into tertiary institutions – NAN survey (II)

In spite of the existence of the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), and Post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), complaints arise annually about admission processes in the country.

They range from: too many exams and interviews to gain admission into tertiary institutions; cost of forms and cards to check result and admission, cost of trips/journeys to exam centres and institutions, cut off marks, to the uncertainty of gaining admission after going through these processes.
As a result, many have taken to pursuing admission into similar institutions overseas.

In a bid to proffer lasting solution to this seemingly intractable problem, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), conducted a nationwide survey on the issue.

Below are the views of stakeholders.

Mr Mlanga Bede, a lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences, Federal College of Education, Yola, Adamawa, said acrimonies arising from admissions into tertiary institutions were due to duplication of roles between JAMB and individual institutions.

He stressed the need to harmonise the policy to ensure that the process was uniform.

Mr Kenneth Jinjiri of the Department of Languages, Federal College of Education Yola, advised the Federal Government to regulate the admission processes in private institutions.

Jinjiri noted that the manner in which admission into private institutions was being handled could compromise or reduce the standard of some institutions.

Miss Catherine Usongo, student of Mass Communication, Adamawa State Polytechnic, suggested that JAMB should be allowed to regulate and implement all policies pertaining to admission into tertiary institutions.

In Bauchi, some respondents called for the scrapping of JAMB ``for failing to perform its role effectively.’’

Mr Paul Orude, a resident of Bauchi metropolis, said JAMB had failed to assert itself as a strong organisation that could conduct examination and admit students into various tertiary institutions.

He said institutions fixed their cut-off marks, overriding the one prescribed by JAMB, indicating that the body was not in control of the affairs.

Orude advised that the National Universities Commission (NUC) should either allow JAMB to take charge completely, or scrap it and grant tertiary institutions independence on the issue of admissions.

Alhaji Saleh Umar, a parent and resident of Darazo, also called for the scrapping of JAMB or for its re-organisation.

Umar called on the federal government to outlaw internal examinations being conducted by various tertiary institutions after admissions had been offered to students by JAMB.

``If administrators of tertiary institutions are not satisfied with the work being done by JAMB, government should scrap it and allow institutions to set their admission standards”, he said.

In Gombe, some of the stakeholders identified nepotism as one of the factors which must be addressed to have a good admission process.

Malam Mohammed Muazu, Secretary-General, Movement of Student Activists
in Nigeria, observed that even students who met JAMB’s cut of points sometimes did not gain admission because they had no ‘connection’ at the top.

Muazu, a 400 level Sociology student of Gombe State University, said in most of the institutions, spaces were allocated to emirate councils, politicians, as well as important personalities in the society.
``The schools do not even care if the favoured candidates are qualified or not”, he said.

Muazu advised that JAMB should be the only body to handle admission matters.

Alhaji Usman Mohammed, Chairman, Parent/Teachers
Association, Gombe State, said JAMB should be allowed to handle the admission process into government universities.
Mohammed, Head of Doho, Kwami Local Government Area of the state, said there were lots of brilliant students who got JAMB cut-off marks, but could not gain admission into tertiary institutions because they had nobody to help them.

Mr Bolaji Okuribido, an educationist in Jigawa, observed that the number of students applying for admission into universities had outweighed the spaces available.

``There is therefore the need to patronise other tertiary institutions like polytechnics and colleges of education.

``JAMB should convene a stakeholders meeting to sensitise parents and students on why they should embrace other tertiary institutions’’, he said.

Mrs Zainab Abubakar, a parent in Dutse, called for the cancelation of post-UME conducted by various universities.

In Yobe, stakeholders also advocated for a unified regulatory body for examination and admissions into higher institutions in the country.

Alhaji Saleh Ajiya, a retired educationist, said the engagement of several bodies with conflicting roles in the admission process had brought confusion into the entire system.

Ali Abubakar, a lecturer with Yobe State University, said the admission process was tasking on parents and students.

``One organization can handle the admission process more efficiently to avoid the confusion we are having in the system.

``These organizations ought to have been concentrating on improving the quality of education, rather than doing one thing differently", he said.

Some parents said they sometimes got confused by the conflicting directives issued by the regulatory body.

Bukar Isa, a father, noted that “sometimes, universities will issue directives, after some days, it will be countered by NUC and later, JAMB will issue a different directive.’’

A parent in Umuahia, Abia, Mr Kalu Eziyi, attributed the multiple examinations introduced in the university admission process to system failure.

Eziyi, a father of three undergraduates at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, said the rigorous process was necessary to ensure that only the best candidates were offered admission.

Eziyi said before the introduction of JAMB, only students with resounding West African Examination Council (WAEC) results were offered admission as soon as they left secondary schools.

He said JAMB was introduced to help streamline the process of admission into universities, bearing in mind the quota system and the increasing population of students seeking university education in the country.

``Beyond this role, JAMB has also helped to ensure that best students were given admission to study in the nation’s universities’’, he said.

Eziyi said the increasing phenomenon of examination malpractices during WASC examinations had also made JAMB and post-JAMB examinations relevant.

``Many candidates cheat during WASC examination, some bribe WAEC officials to get good grades, others cheat in the examination halls.

``There are also the miracle centres, which help students to obtain unrealistic grades, so during JAMB you discover that such students fail to replicate such excellent performance’’, he said.

He said that multiple entrance examinations, including post-JAMB, became necessary to ensure that the universities got the best candidates that met their standard.

He said although the rigours as well as the financial implications were enormous on parents and guardians, ``Nigerians should bear them as part of the challenges posed by the failure in the nation’s education system.’’

Master Tony Okobi and Miss Nkeiruka Okoli, who are seeking university admission, expressed worry over the process involved, urging the government to intervene in order to make university education accessible to the poor.

Okobi, who said he chose University of Calabar, added that he had undertaken several trips from Lagos, where he lives with his parents, to Calabar ``just to obtain the university’s post-JAMB form.

``The cost of travelling to Calabar and Lagos is enormous and one has to pay for recharge card as well as the form’’, he said.

Dr. Andy Chukwu, the Head of Department of Agricultural Economics at the Imo state University, said ``there is need for JAMB to collaborate with higher institutions to harmonise the cut off marks for admissions into tertiary institutions.’’

He explained that this would help to make the admission process simpler for all involved.

Chukwu added that this would also reduce the number of unqualified candidates gaining admission into universities.

He said admission into higher institutions had always been a problem in the country owing to corrupt practices.

The lecturer stressed that admissions should be done purely on merit and called for persons with questionable characters to be excluded from admission process.

He also called for a ban to be placed on ``special centres."

A student in the university, Ms Mary Agbo called for the reduction of application and examination fees to make them affordable.

Agbo said she had to pay twice for scratch cards to register and another one to check the result of the examination.

She called for reduction in the fees to ensure that even indigent students can afford it.

Some parents in Awka, Anambra, said it was not proper for JAMB to change the choice of institutions and courses made by students without their consent.

Mrs Chinelo Udemba, who said she had yet to understand what JAMB intended to achieve with the new cut-off mark, added that students and other stakeholders were not sensitized about it.

Udemba said prospective students were facing more frustration in their quest for higher education unlike what obtained in the past.

She called for a uniform standard of examination into the universities as the multiplicity of tests had become ``process of extortion.

``There are so many inconsistencies in our education sector these days. Private universities should not be alternatives to public schools.

``In our time, a certain minimum score in JAMB was enough to earn you admission. But these days, more hurdles are placed in front of the students and parents suffer for it’’, she said.

Another parent, John Nnabuife, said the difficulties in gaining admission into Nigerian universities were becoming advantage to other nations.

Nnabuife said although obtaining forms, taking examinations and checking results online were welcome, they were coming at a huge cost.

He called on the federal government to streamline the activities of JAMB and the universities as they could not continue to work at cross purposes to the detriment of parents and students. (NAN)

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