The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has told prospective candidates for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) that they would not be offered admission until they produce their Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) OLevel result.
Also, the examination body has restricted the choice of candidates to only one public university, paving the way for patronage of private universities. It also said that potential candidates now have the opportunity of a fourth choice. The sale of application form for the examination would start in March.
These are the products of a restructuring of admission process carried out by the Board ahead of this year UTME that has been fixed to hold in May. But the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have rejected the policy. Head of JAMB Public Relations, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, stated that candidates who are awaiting their O-Level results have been ruled out from securing admission into universities.
The statement reads: “The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) had concluded all restructuring, transformation, reforms and other preparation for the 2017 UTME and is now set to commence the sale of its application document in March, 2017.
“In the course of conducting admission exercise, 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 combination for admission and had to delete and start the process all over again. With this, they would have denied other qualified candidates the opportunities for admissions.
“This we are addressing by ensuring that no candidate is, henceforth, recommended without his ‘O’ level result being supplied. To achieve this, JAMB will insist that candidates supply their result on its website during registration or later, but before admission commences for them to be considered for admissions.
We believe this will allow only qualified candidates to be considered for admissions. “We have designed a Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS) where the Board will interface with the institutions and ensure the compliance of this reform.
The summary is that no candidate will be admitted with awaiting result.” The JAMB justified the restriction of candidates to only one public university. The statement explained that the restructuring is to expand the opportunities available to candidates, noting that almost all the public universities do not consider candidates on the second choice list as they hardly exhaust their first choice.
The board said: “Candidates and their parents are also to note that the Board has restructured the registration platform to allow for only one choice of public university. The new registration platform will now be first choice, second choice, third choice and fourth choice and not most preferred, preferred etc., as it was.
“Candidates’ first choice can be a College, University, Innovative Enterprises Institutions or Polytechnic/Monotechnic. However, if a candidate makes a public university his first choice, he will not have any public university to choose for 2nd, 3rd and 4th choice.
“He will have on the re maining three choices, a college, a polytechnic, private university and IEI’S. However, candidates for the 2017 UTME can now select NCE (College) or ND (Polytechnic/Monotechnic) as their 1st choice up to 3rd choice and the 4th IEI.
They can select the IEI (Innovative Enterprise Institution, ND) as their 1st choice up to the 4th choice, but can only pick a public university once.” It added that the registration of UTME this year would go side by side with the Direct Entry and during registration, candidates’ 10 fingers are to be captured using Biometric Verification Machine (BVN). The Board also warned that no cybercafé would be registering candidates for its examination, saying “on no account should any candidate patronise any cybercafé for our registration. It is important to note that the Board will not deploy the use of any scratch card for the 2017 UTME registration exercise.”
Meanwhile, the National President of the NUT, Comrade Michael Alogba- Olukoya, has kicked against the JAMB policy, describing it as a deviation from the acceptable norms and slap on the sensitivity of the Nigerian people. He said, in the first instance, JAMB has no right to deny any students or candidates the right for admission, either awaiting results or not. “For a candidate to write an examination of that magnitude and passed, it would be unhealthy for JAMB to deny such candidates admission on the basis that they are awaiting their results.
“Therefore, the key stakeholders in JAMB and its leadership should re-examine the policy and give the country and its people what they deserve in terms of admission into higher institutions,” Alogba-Olukoya said, adding that one year in the life of a child means a lot. The policy of restricting candidates to only one public university, he said, is not only counterproductive; but also anti-people and negates the aspirations of those who founded the board.
“The JAMB Registrar is only creating market for the private universities, which he has strong interest. “Why must he say candidates should choose a private university with only one choice of public university, either federal or state? Not many parents have the wherewithal to afford the cost of the elite universities,” he said.
According to Alogba- Olukoya, JAMB should have a rethink by reversing the policy as Nigerians would not accept this draconian policy, which is set out to force private universities on the poor parents given the economic recession in the country. Similarly, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has rejected the position of JAMB to compel the UTME candidates to choose only one public university, describing it as fraudulent, dictatorial and unacceptable.
In an interview with New Telegraph yesterday, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said the new development is part of what the union has been fighting all along, saying it is a product of over-concentration of admission processes into university. He said: “This is condemnable and ASUU rejects it.
It is in continuation of the policy of forcing students to attend the private universities which Oloyede’s predecessor started before he left. This is what you get when you over-centralise admission process unlike what obtains in the developed nations. “Will JAMB pay the fees of the students if the private universities offer them admission? The private universities have been crying in the recent time that candidates no longer subscribe to their universities because the academic calendar in public schools are now relatively stable.
We will move against this until it is rescinded.” Similarly, the Association of Tutorial School Operators (ATSO) has also kicked against the new policy, saying it has once mobilised against a similar position taken by Oloyede’s predecessor in the past and that it is ready to do so again.
The President of the association, Mr. Dotun Sodunke, explained that his association would soon meet over the new policy and other matters, and make its official position known. He said: “The decision is exploitative, ridiculous and dictatorial. Our association will meet soon and our position will be made known. It is not new because JAMB once attempted that when it redistributed UNILAG candidates to other institutions.”