The Jamb Brouhaha
The Joint Admissions And Matriculations Board (JAMB) is the body statutorily saddled with the responsibility to conduct academic examinations into tertiary educational institutions in Nigeria.
Hitherto known as the University Matriculation Examinations (UME), these exams were conducted as pre-entry tests specifically for university-bound candidates.
JAMB's function has however been expanded over the years to also incorporate pre-admission tests into other tertiary educational institutions. The latter institutions range from polytechnics and monotechnics to colleges of education.
This widening of roles has accordingly led its exams to be renamed as Universal Tertiary Matriculation Examinations... or UTME.
But perhaps for reasons borne out of the unwieldy number of candidates desperate to secure limited slots in our tertiary educational institutions and the fixity of our employers of labour on "paper qualifications ", there was widespread cheating in these exams thus putting a huge question mark on the integrity of such exams.
Thus, universities found the need to by way of cross-checking, redetermine the academic qualities of candidates sent to them by JAMB by conducting what has come to be known as Post-JAMB Exams for candidates before eventually admitting them as undergraduate students!
I congratulate this body for the successful implementation of the Computer Based Test (CBT) format in its examinations...thus obviating loopholes for such cheating and thus upgrading the integrity of those exams.
I am made to understand that such computerized tests are foolproof and their integrity is absolute as questions are randomly pulled from question banks housing questions in excess of 40,000 for individual candidates to answer!
So integrity restored!
But our universities still persist in conducting Post-JAMB exams and extorting huge sums of money from anxious applicants!
So I ask why the need to retain these additional tests?
I hereby feel compelled to ask the federal government to outlaw Post-JAMB exams in our tertiary education institutions.
In the same vein, in addition to "content of character", I implore our educational authorities to use ACADEMIC MERIT as the sole criterion for determining eligibility of candidates for admission into our tertiary institutions... for such institutions are primarily, centres of academic excellence!
There should be no room for other mundane pre-admission criteria like gender, geopolitics or presumed educational "disadvantage", quotas, slots...randomly allotted to ministers, professors or vice-chancellors!
Such slots are often sold to the highest bidders!
Or given by their owners to candidates at their whim...even as those favoured applicants barely score minimum marks...much below some brighter candidates who may not be so connected or so financially strong!
We must plug such deliberate loopholes for pre-entry manipulations...
...if we were to be serious about our collective survival!
For technological advancement is not driven by sentiment...
...but by academic excellence! When universitity slots are sold as if in Jankara Market...
Such loopholes are epitomes of exam cheating!
Dr Tosin Akindele is a medical practitioner and public affairs analyst.