By Favour Nnabugwu
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has remitted N50 billion to the federal government’s coffers in the last six years.
JAMB has also sxpended N500m as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in support of Nigerian universities to increase their capacity to give admission to applicants every year in the last five years.
The JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, revealed in Abeokuta, the Ogun State at a public lecture titled, “The Imperatives of JAMB in Tertiary Education in Nigeria”, as part of activities to mark this year’s Gbagura Day, said, it has increased the CSR to N750million this year.
He said, “Currently, over N50billion has been recorded as surplus in the past five years. Over N29billion of this has been returned directly to the CRF. About N11billion disbursed on capital projects, Corporate Social Responsibility, savings (about N6billion) and others in contrasts to about N52million that had been the cumulative return of the previous 40 years.”
He berated those calling for an extension of validity of results of Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) of candidates, saying those behind the calls are acting in ignorance.
The JAMB registrar explained that score that is good enough for a year may never be good enough for any subsequent year with more brilliant candidates; owing to the limited carrying capacity, stressing that increasing the validity period will further compound the huge backlog of untreated admission requests and subscriptions to various institutions in the country.
“In recent times, some people have agitated for the retention of the results of the UTME for more than a year. But let us be clear on this. The validity of a purposeful examination as the UTME cannot be extended beyond the purpose for which it has been administered, thus the score of such an examination cannot be banked for future use as done with Certification Test.
“Other reasons why UTME scores cannot be banked and its validity could not be extended beyond a year include:each year’s examination has different standard in terms of test difficulty and comparability since a norm-referenced test is linked only to the test population of a particular year.
“The psychometrics for comparability demands a statistical procedure of linking and equating the mean, standard deviation and rank order of performance scores to be approximately the same for each validity year.
This statistical factor must be equated in each year’s performance for adjustment and defensibility to the critical stakeholders on national combined selection; the purpose of the UTME is to align it with the current Year 1 (100 level) syllabus of tertiary institutions”.
“Change in syllabus may affect the validity and reliability of scores for candidates for different years; if fresh school leavers are to wait for all the earlier-school leavers to be admitted before they (the fresh) are considered, then the fresh ones would be unduly deprived even if they are more qualified than the earlier set”.
“The standard for each cohort is to take the best available each year rather than rank on age of test; admission in a given year depends on the carrying capacity of an institution and the performance of candidates at the examination viz-a-viz their chosen courses and programmes”.
Other parameters for admission such as Merit, Catchment Area, Educationally Less Developed States (ELDS), state of origin also play significant role”.
“A score that is good enough for a year may never be good enough for any subsequent year with more brilliant candidates;owing to the limited carrying capacity, increasing the validity period will further compound the huge backlog of untreated admission requests and subscriptions to various institutions.”
“Before the establishment of JAMB, the admission of prospective students was done by each university on its own. It was individualistic, chaotic and open to abuse as each institution set its own admission requirements without recourse to any central and coordinating statutory body”.
He said, “the establishment of JAMB has ensured a unified standard for the conduct of matriculation examination, harmonised entry requirements, ensured the placement of suitably qualified candidates into the nation tertiary institutions and strict compliance to admission guidelines”.
“If a central body for the assessment and placement of qualified candidates to tertiary education institutions could be desired when the nation had only thirteen universities, it should be more desirable now than ever when we have more than nine hundred tertiary education institutions”.
While institutions determine institutional and programme cut-off marks and other Admission criteria in exercise of their autonomy, regulatory agencies (NUC, NBTE and NCCE) decide the admission quota for the institutions. The role of JAMB is to ensure that the set criteria are adhered to along with the extant policies so that no qualified candidate will be left behind.
“The existence of JAMB restraints tertiary institutions, particularly, public tertiary ones, from arbitrariness in the admission process. It also serves as arbiter between the institutions and the candidates”.
“In order to protect the sanctity and integrity of its UTME, the Board puts in place several measures to curb the menace of examination malpractice, ensures active participation of stakeholders through a number of standing committee set up to monitor the conduct of UTME”.