Chris Steven, Abuja
The Senate has suspended the ongoing amendment of the Act establishing the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), to allow for more consultations and inputs by all critical stakeholders.
A suspension was announced by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education, Senator Aliyu Wamakko during an oversight visit to the headquarters of JAMB in Abuja yesterday.
According to a statement issued by the Head, Public Relations of JAMB, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, the Chairman of the Committee was represented by Senator Ajayi Boroffice during the oversight who explained that the suspension was to avoid impeding the progress being made by JAMB in the conduct of examinations in Nigeria.
His words: “Your JAMB result is only valid for one year and we thought it will be better for it to be valid at least for three years. It will reduce the burden on the parents, on the students themselves even on the institution that is conducting the test. I think it is what is good for all of us and I don’t think the public will reject it.
As I said we don’t make law for an individual or for Senate. We make law for the country in the interest of all of us. A bill must not necessarily be at the convenience of a particular organization, having said that, since we don’t want to make a law that will impede the progress of any institution, we are bound to listen to what they are saying. We are bound to listen to them.
I think JAMB has made so much progress over the years and all we can say is that they should continue to improve on their performance because the lives of millions of Nigerians will depend on them and I hope the confidence they will repose in them they will be able to justify it. We are happy with our visit, we are happy with the registrar, we are happy with the management and I think we are happy with ourselves too.”
While responding , the Registrar/Chief Executuve of JAMB, Professor Is-haq Oloyede, said he was happy the Senate listened to its appeal.
He also appealed to members of the House of Representatives and the Executive to toe the line of the Senate by suspending the process of amending the Act.
Professor Oloyede stressed that going ahead with the amendment of the Act without due consultations will not be in the best interest of the nation.
“I believe that they must have considered so many things before coming to that conclusion at that time but my appeal is to the other legs – the House of Representatives and to the President that it will do more harm to the students than good.
One problem I find is that when there is a problem rather than studying the problem and look for strategy to solving them we will jump into conclusion which is more dangerous than the original problem.
When you look at the issue of three years somebody mentioned that that is what is done in Britain and US. There is a basic difference. They are conducting aptitude test and aptitude test will last longer. We are conducting achievement test and you can’t compare the two. If you want to go in that direction why not but there will be change of infrastructure, everything will be in place. You don’t midway into a system.
For instance when you make that type of law you have not contacted NUC to say ‘NUC change your syllabus.’ You want to admit somebody you conduct the exam today the intension is to test the ability of the student to cope with university education at the 100 Level for instance. If they change the syllabus our exam must change and that will not synchronize with your three years. You will having a set of students who are tested for a programme different from the one they are doing.
When you talk about students not been admitted, it is because of mismatch and when you say for instance most of the universities must take 60 science 40 arts and in some cases it goes as far as 70/30 and you have these policies in place but you are producing from the school system 80% art, 20% science and you want all of them to go.
The question I want the legislators to ask is: ‘why is it that we are not filling our quota every year?’ That is where to start because we are not filing the quota. It is not a matter of space alone. There are other issues. There is systemic issue that should be addressed. Making such a law will not be helpful in anyway.” He said