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JAMB and the battles against education (2)

By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN

In this column last week, I discussed the seeming crave by national institutions and agencies to become fundraising agencies, using the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, (JAMB) as an example. A lot of well-meaning Nigerians reached out to me to make comments and suggestions, which I found very useful and germaine to the discourse, hoping that those in authority will deploy these materials for the benefit of the candidates and JAMB management.

Victor Umanna:

This exposition is more than two-edged sword as it exposes:
The profiteering mind-set of Jamb which should allow successful candidates that were unabsorbed this year to have 2 or 3 years validity to gain admission without writing another exam in subsequent years. That our secondary education training/supervision is weak if not below global competiveness; that parents/students resort to special centre is false confidence mantrap; that no wonder the university output is a reflection of government’s tempo of concerted concern and seriousness; that the society aloofness on abysmal performance generally is now the product of youth restiveness and embroidered banditry, kidnapping, rape, etc, pervading our society today.

Mobolaji Amidu:

Thank you very much sir for speaking out and enlightening us on this crucial issue. You have made us understand that Nigeria’s problem is foundational. Any country having these problems you indicated in their education sector definitely has no future. A country with the kind of anomalies you mentioned above in its education sector…… is in trouble, big trouble.

Paul Isaac Ayobamidele:

Thanks sir for speaking out clearly on this. I have always maintained that JAMB is a big scam and financial fraud imposed on Nigerians to feed the insatiable thirst of our avaristic greedy politicians. In the first instance, why should JAMB conduct any exam this year when a very large percentage of learners offered admissions for the year 2020/2021 are yet to step their feet into universities? A larger number of universities are just concluding their 1st semester for 2020/2021, with a huge backlog of admissions for last year. If not for the billions, what is the justification for this year’s exam? JAMB administrators know in the secrets of their hearts that a large proportion of learners who wrote this year’s exam will never be admitted except those who can pay for private university education. The maths is simple; they must wring the money out of parents pockets, learners must fail. It is a deliberate orchestration to raise funds for a broke and financially reckless government.

Ibrahim Akinpelu:

Thank you very much sir for lending your voice into this JAMB Brouhaha, The present Registrar of JAMB is just too overbearing and drifting away from his duties and the major purpose of its agency. Imagine an agency which does not have any interaction via email or phone saying students failed, they made virtually all the processes of admission a money making venture starting from obtaining profile code which cost 50 Naira each and will not come until they deduct multiples of it from call credit, buying of forms, paying for CBT centre, paying for mock exams and now mass failing students. So that they will rush back to the JAMB portal to pay another 2500 Naira to do change of course or institution for 2500 each for any corrections, and when an institution finally gives admission with different course JAMB will still obtain another 2500 again, they still have to pay 1000 for admission letter and another 1000 for result slip. And there is a surcharge of 15000 for regularisation of admission. In spite of the economic difficulties parents are facing, those are the list of payments they make not to talk of travelling down to their offices with long queues to be welcomed by impatient staff that attend to candidates.
One begins to wonder if all these surcharges and revenue generation drives are the major reason why JAMB was created. There were even instances where the Registrar left his office to do the job of security men arresting by himself and doing online trials of people suspected to be assisting candidates prepare for exams. While JAMB does not even have a counseling nor virtual class where candidates could learn, the Registrar is all over the place complaining about people teaching candidates, he even got to the extent of saying the acronym JAMB is a patent that should never be used by anyone. While everyone will be happy to see an improvement in educational system through JAMB, the agency should focus on its core mandate instead of trying to compete with FIRS and Nigerian Customs in revenue generation

Uche Nnadozie:

Sir, even the act you quoted clearly states that it can remit excess money to the government. Let’s stop deceiving and misleading people please. The JAMB registrar did not go out of his way to “raise funds”. JAMB charges fees for conducting its exams. After the exam, the Board remits excess of its funds to the state. How’s that a crime? This board reduced the fees charged from what it used to be seven years ago to what it is now. Yet they still remit money. Maybe the present board is naive. They should have swallowed the balance like their predecessors used to do. They should have swallowed it like others did when they indicted a snake.

By the way, all government agencies which deliver service and collect fees from people will always make some money from their service. The law says such funds should be remitted to government coffers not to be swallowed by a snake – then for lawyers to gather to provide “professional” service when they are asked to vomit the balance.

Judith Pearce:

Broda mi…. OMG you have made my day. This has been my position. JAMB is not a fundraising agency! Period! It is wickedness to keep selling the forms to raise funds. We know the capacity of the Nigerian Universities and other higher institutions. We know how many students will be absorbed each year.

Uwemedimo Akpan-Umoh:

How do you reconcile maintaining an account by JAMB with the TSA? It appears that the remittance by JAMB is more or less about the agency lodging the funds in TSA …

Ayokunle Olaoluwa Opaogun:

Thank you sir for this and I have been waiting for someone to speak this kind truth to the whole nation. Jamb is not a body to generate funds for the government rather than providing free exams for the students who want to enter institutions. But today Jamb is a fraud institution which is endangering the pupils and parents. Sir this country is a fraud. WHY? After all the institutions will still do their own personal exams before they enrol students with other fees to buy forms. We need a strong body to tackle this issue sir. God bless you and God shall strengthen your firm sir amen.

Akomolafe Peter Ayomide:

I doubt if those in JAMB have seen or heard or even understand this law. The more money JAMB remits to FG, the more the mass failure and also the more the standard of education drops … Thanks to my learned SAN for the enlightenment.

Mikail Oludiran:

What a moribund and archaic law it ought to be modified to suit the reality of the day… In those days it served as a conduit pipe to siphon billions of Naira.

Nwokolo Otunba Kingsley Chimezie:

Just wondering, why does the generated amount keep reducing over the years? Is it that we have less people taking part in the exams or they reduce the price, or probably there’s a snake swallowing the rest, abi monkey still dey cash out? Just wondering …

Joe Ashaolu:

I have shared these thoughts somewhere before. I concluded that even if JAMB generates money, the money should immediately go back into funding educational purposes. Afterall, many of our educational facilities are in a state of comatose.

GN Adekunle:

But you didn’t come up with this type of write-up when just-remanded Dibu Ojerinde was the Registrar of JAMB. So, it is safe to say that Prof. Dibu resolved to embezzlement for someone like you not to perceive that JAMB was making money during his own time. As much as I agreed with some points raised in this write-up but it is untimely, coming out at a time a Prof. that pocketed the masses money was just remanded.

Wale Oriji:

This is exactly why I told some people that what the man is doing at JAMB isn’t commendable because he got the reasons and why wrong. And the hardships candidates face to write the examination now is part of the reasons for mass failure. JAMB needs reevaluation.

All said and done, there is an urgent need for this agency to reinvent itself in order to fulfil the purpose for which it was established. In a country that claims to practice federalism, there is absolutely no reason. We should not centralize the admission process into tertiary institutions that were not set up or funded by the federal government. It is totally illogical for a federal agency to control and dictate the procedure for admission into state and private universities. But until the law establishing JAMB is tinkered with, we are stuck for now, which is why this piece has been rendered to proffer solutions and remedies for an obviously flawed process.
The Ministry of Education, which has supervisory jurisdiction over JAMB, should work out an efficient strategy that will reduce the multiple layers of money-gulping procedures of the agency, in order to lessen the burden of the candidates and their parents. Education should ordinarily be an essential service, which every nation should prioritize for the benefit of its citizens. This is a global phenomenon that should be in the interest of all stakeholders in the educational sector. More importantly however, the Federal Government must make conscious efforts to decentralize the process of admission into tertiary institutions, so that we can truly pride ourselves on running a federation.

The totality of all the useful comments and suggestions stated above is to the effect that there is a need for a response mechanism such that JAMB as an agency can receive constant feedback from all those who are affected one way or the other, with the conduct of its affairs. The primary concern should be the interest of the candidates, for whose benefit the agency was established in the first place. As a starting point, the fees being paid for examinations should cover all other protocols and procedures relating to or connected with the admission process. Parents who are financially distressed from the coronavirus economy, parents who have been battered by the biting state of insecurity in the land, who have no hope of a better tomorrow, should not be subjected to the trauma of a cumbersome and prohibitive admission regime. That will be a disservice to education.

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