All is presently not well with admission process into the nation’s higher institutions of learning.
The whole scenario, if not addressed through genuine efforts, will not only throw the system into palpable confusion, but also unleash further crisis on the higher education sub-sector.
The fresh concern being raised by the controversies trailing the new admission process as thrown up by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), the examination body saddled with the responsibility of conducting the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), the qualifying examination into these institutions, is a blight on the system, if the current attendant brouhaha that is already playing itself out is anything to go by.
Perhaps, the question to be asked is why should admission into schools, even secondary schools, be a matter of life and death and national calamity? The late Prof. Babs Fafunwa, the doyen of education and former Education Minister once lamented how he was turned to a mere admission officer into Unity Schools as a minister.
It is apparently disgusting if this retrogressive structure, which has refused to align with the international standard and practices should be encouraged to blossom.
Over the time, and most recently, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board has been in public eye, following the barrage of criticisms trailing the conduct of the UTME examinations, which was marred with various degrees of irregularities and now how to get students into the institutions.
Meanwhile, bedlam that greeted this year’s qualifying examination, on one hand and the question about whether or not the post-UTME should be retained between the universities and JAMB on the other, have remained the unresolved burning issues.
But ironically, as the controversies raged, the Education Min ister, Mallam Adamu Adamu had precisely on June 2 at the opening of the 2016 combined policy meeting on admissions to universities, polytechnics and other higher institutions, announced the scrapping of the post-UTME.
This Federal Government position on the issue, as presented by the Minister added another twist to the entire brouhaha and to an extent put oil in the fire. As this wind of uncertainty was still blowing across the institutions, JAMB threw another bombshell last week with the introduction of another admission guideline to be adopted by the institutions for the 2016/2017 academic session.
Tagged: “Point Option System’ of admission,” the guideline, JAMB explained is that its provisional admission no longer makes much sense this year; as the candidates’ points tally will decide their fate.
The points are evenly spread out between the candidates’ Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) O’Level and UTME results to provide a level playing field for all.
In the first case, any candidate who submits only one result, which contains his or her relevant subjects, has 10 points in such examination as NECO, WAEC and GCE, while candidate with two sittings only gets two points.
The next point grades, under the guideline fall into the O’Level grades, where each grade has its equivalent point; A (6 marks), B (4 marks), C (3 marks), while the third point is the UTME scores, where each score range has its equivalent point that is summarised as 180-200 (or 20–23 marks); 200–250 (or 24–33 points); 251–300 (or 34–43); 300–400 (or 44–60 points).
Consequently, the new guideline has since put stakeholders, including the admission seekers, parents, lecturers, management of academic institutions and admission officials in a dilemma.
Though, JAMB has claimed that the guideline was scooped on its website. But, the truth of the matter is that there is lack of proper synergy between the Board and the institutions in terms of harmonising the process and saving the system and country from this opprobrium.
However, with about 142 universities (federal, state and private), the country deserves and should as a matter of sanity put in place a workable admission system, instead the current system where JAMB and the institutions are working at cross-purposes as if they are in competition in which one wants to outshine the other.
In fact, the current admission mess the country has found itself will further becloud its developmental view and shut the doors to the provision of qualitative tertiary education needed to energise the economic and technological growth of the nation.
In this instance, the Federal Government has to act fast by playing its leadership role in order to rescue the system from its imminent collapse, because the discordant tunes between the admission umpire and institutions is a negative signal that should be checked immediately.