In September, millions of children across the world will be…
By Kunle Ayankoso
Every other year, in a bid to further the horizons of their formal education, secondary school leaving students seek to gain admissions into tertiary institutions. In doing so, they are subjected to write an excruciating and challenging exam, administered to them by the notorious Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). Yes I say notorious because most of the prospective applicants, suppose, that the board deliberately fails and denies them their much deserved admissions into higher schools. It is in light of the supposed perception that applicants, over the years, have come up with an infamous prayer point.
“Oh lord, (lord here doesn’t imply to the Almighty, I don’t intend to blaspheme) let JAMB jam me not”. It may sound funny though, but this so much underscores the sorry state of the Nigerian admission seeker.
“Okay son, But remember heaven only helps those who help themselves” the lord would admonish.
How then do we help ourselves out of this sorry state whereby most applicants are unsuccessful at their attempts to gain admission? I have an idea, let JAMB start by abolishing the use of awaiting results by applicants.
Aside the indolence exhibited by students toward the JAMB exam coupled with the complicities of most parents, low holding capacity of the various higher institutions, corruption, nepotism and many more, Industry insiders have always attributed a lack of coherent admission guidelines and policies by JAMB and the institutions as a factor hindering the success of students at gaining admission. I firmly believe that the careless indulgence of awaiting results by JAMB is the chief culprit of these obtuse policies. The continued used of awaiting results has led to an overwhelmingly unstable transition into tertiary institutions.
On the 28th of February, 2017, JAMB in a statement released by its spokesperson, Mr. Fabian Benjamin, had declared that candidates must obtain the results of their O’level exams before they could be considered for admission. The board said it was “part of its restructuring in preparation for the 2017 UTME exam” and “that the nation needs a different and progressive result that will position Nigerian educational system in an enviable height in the comity of nations”.
The body further explained that “many institutions have admitted candidates on merit only for them to discover that such candidates do not have qualified O’level results or the right combinations for admission and had to delete and start the process all over again”. Alas, in a drastic turn of events, JAMB came out few days later to upturn the decision. Although it is still unclear why JAMB would make such a policy somersault, I suppose it might be particularly due to the public outcry that greeted the pronouncement of the policy. However, the ripple effect of the continued use of awaiting results by applicants is that it “would have denied other qualified candidates the opportunities for admissions”. The statement concluded. And rightly so, such is the calamity that befalls JAMB, the tertiary institutions and sadly, the candidates who have already obtained their results and are now qualified for admission.
Uninterestingly, what’s even more calamitous than the psychological trauma that the applicants are made to endure, the physical stress that comes with shuttling around different locations and then the financial burden put on the head of these candidates’ sponsors. Parents and guardians are made to pay through their nose to obtain examination forms, get qualified tutors to prepare these candidates for the exam, and other miscellaneous expenses. Elsewhere, con artists are having a field day, owing to the desperation of this group of applicants to gain admissions by all means possible. Unfortunately, none of the foregoing even guarantees the much coveted admission.
Item c of Decree No 33 of 1989 unequivocally mandates JAMB to “place suitably qualified candidates in the tertiary institutions” after having taken into account a range of conditions; use of awaiting results in not stipulated. I then ask, are candidates who are still awaiting their O’level results be classified as ‘suitably qualified candidates’? Simple reasoning says NO. That the board even Permits the use of awaiting results in the first place, not only indicate the board’s disregard for basic procedures, but also the legality of the decision as a whole.
In conclusion, since these admissions seeking candidates never tendered awaiting results all through their transitions from nursery to secondary school, then why is it any different for tertiary schools? Isn’t it time we abolished this practice of using incomplete results to seek entrance into the walls of higher institutions? A place which is arguably the second most important citadel of learning after basic schools, it is time JAMB gets more serious.
Kunle Ayankoso is a versatile Content Creator and young Agropreneur. He can be reached on twitter via @OgbeniKunle