Why Jamb support Universities with funds, by Oloyede
Apart from remitting excess funds to the Federal Government every year, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) also empowers universities with grants to boost infrastructure and conducive learning environment.
The registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, disclosed that the examination body also supports the universities with funds and builds Computer Based Test (CBT) centres across the country.
According to him, JAMB supported the institutions with N750 million this year, an increase from the N500 million released to them last year.
The registrar, who led his team to the corporate headquarters of The Guardian on a courtesy visit, recently, said the body, in the last three years, has also established about 1,100 capacity CBT centres in Kaduna; 750 in Owerri and 250 in almost every state of the federation.
But when asked how the universities spend funds given to them by JAMB, Oloyede said the agency does follow up because it wouldn’t want to be distracted from its primary assignment of conducting examinations.
“If I move to develop all the states of the federation, I will lose concentration, because I am not a contractor. In a sane society, where those who are awarded contracts are not actors, all I have to do is to provide the funds. But taking up the responsibility of doing both would divert my attention and distract me from my primary responsibility,” Oloyede said.
The examination body, under the headship of Oloyede, has been widely criticised for its habit of remitting huge sums of money to government coffers. At least about N50 billion has been returned to government coffers in the last six years. Oloyede said the sum was what was left after expenses incurred in conducting the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), adding that the remittance was due to measures put in place on, “cost control, prevention of financial leakages and minimisation of financial corruption.”
Oloyede said the surplus funds included over N29 billion directly returned into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), N11 billion disbursed on capital projects, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and savings of about N6 billion, among others.
On the examination fees being paid by candidates, Oloyede said the body has reviewed the fees downward from N5,000 to N3,500 to reduce the burden on parents, saying other examination bodies charge higher.
“Parents are paying N85,000 for Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), while JAMB charges 3,500 for UTME. Why people are complaining that the fee is too much is because JAMB is returning billions. Nobody is complaining about what other examination bodies are charging because in the real sense, we charge 20 per cent of what others charge, which is a minimum of N18,000.
“And we set numerous questions, at least 40 questions for every subject we offer. We return the money to the government because it’s not our money; many people talk about it because they don’t know the numerous things we do. Apart from injecting funds in the universities, we enhance the salary of our staff and support them with about N2 billion every year. We pay them 13th month, and in the wake of petrol subsidy removal, we gave N50,000 each to about 2,000 staff members. So, we are spending the money. What we are returning to the government is the balance,” Oloyede added.
He also took time to explain issues around admission processes and why many of the candidates fail to secure admission. For instance, Oloyede said for this year’s admission, not all the 1,635,673 candidates that applied are qualified. According to him, of the number, 500,000 want to take first degree as a secondary degree.
“Out of the 1.6 million students, those that have five O’levels presently are about 399,000. Others don’t have. As of today, if I want to conduct admission, only 399,000 are eligible to be admitted. Last year for example, we had 562,000 applying for medicine and medicine- related courses while we had 40,000 spaces,” he disclosed.
Oloyede also opposed calls for extension of the validity of UTME beyond one year, saying the nature of the examination is different.
The registrar, who took time to differentiate between the UTME and other examinations to buttress his point, said: “UTME does not qualify a candidate for any placement; it is five credits in O’level that place candidates in the university or polytechnic.”
He pointed out that JAMB is not an examining body and therefore its results cannot remain valid for more than one year.
In the same vein, another member of the JAMB’s team and professor of Educational Measurement and Evaluation, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Boniface Nworgu, said extending the validity of UTME results would be an aberration, as every test has its own purpose and characteristics.
Nworgu pointed out that UTME is a non-reference test whose results or the scores are interpreted in reference to the group that took that particular examination, not in reference to any external standards or criteria, which is the case in other types of tests or examinations.
“The implication of this is obvious; once a cohort or a group of testees or candidates take this particular examination, you cannot reference the score of a candidate from that particular group to another group, which would be taking that test the subsequent year or years.
“Second, the issue of equivalence or non-equivalence, because UTME, this year 2023, will certainly not have the same psychometric characterisations as the 2024 examination.
“There is also the issue of unfairness or lack of equity that will arise when we play with that suggestion. Take for instance, in 2022, the UTME was very easy, and these candidates scored 320. Now, in 2023, JAMB gave a more difficult examination, and you bring the score of a candidate who did an easy exam with those who did a more difficult examination. Have you been fair to the millions who took this examination? And in assessment, fairness and equity is a very important consideration.
“You are to treat all candidates in an equitable manner. It is, therefore, what you may look at as a serious absurdity for anybody to begin to contemplate this idea of extending the validity of the results. There are examinations that have no business with validity periods; these are certificate examinations like the WAEC registrar rightly pointed out, because in certification examinations, what you do is to certify at the end of a period of schooling, and they are largely criterium reference. Your first-degree results have no business with validity periods. There are also some criteruim reference assessments where the issue of validity is important, like licenses examination, e.g. Drivers licence, licences issued by Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN). In essence, I think that idea is technically unsound,” Nworgu noted.
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