The disagreements over results of this year’s UTME conducted by Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) is yet to subside as educationists and parents have demanded an outright cancellation of the examination to create way for a fresh exercise.
They also called for a total modification of the examination body to conform to global examination practices.National President, Association of Formidable Educational Development (AFED), otherwise called low-profile schools, Mr Orji Kanu, said this year’s examination should not have taken place considering the accumulation of those who are already qualified for the available little spaces existing in universities.
Kanu said if those who were successful in the last exams are yet to get admission to their choice institutions, JAMB should have stayed action on this year’s UTME.The AFED president alleged that mass failure of candidates currently being protested by stakeholders might be an intentional act by the examination body to give space for only few aspiring students to join those already on queue from last year’s examination.He said: “University of Ibadan (UI) for instance, announced that its 100 level students are still at the orientation stage, which means no space for new students. We are aware that COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global academic calendar and Nigeria does not operate in a separate space. One may be forced to believe that JAMB is more focused on revenue drive rather than its primary responsibility of selecting qualified candidates who can fill the few spaces available in universities”He however noted that if JAMB thinks otherwise over all the problems, it should present stakeholders with explanations on why parents should continue to trust the body as not serving a revenue-generating agency.To address the deficiency on human capacity, Kanu said there is an urgent need for the country to replan its educational policies and programmes.Considering the stress students and parents go through to register and participate in UTME, Kanu said results should be valid for at least two years, to enable those who performed well but could not secure admission due to carrying-capacity of the institutions, use same result the following year.
Sammy Ndubuisi, as an educationist, called on the examination body to take up thorough assessment of the exercise to find out the reason for the mass failure, whether human, programming or some other technical issues.
Ndubuisi said if those affected are in the vast majority, extreme actions have to be taken, including re-marking or re-running the tests, at no cost to the candidates. Equity must be ensured in favour of the candidates, who should not suffer any disability or enjoy unjustified favour from the exercise.
On the validity of JAMB results for more than a year, Ndubuisi noted that entrance examinations and admission exercises take place on an annual basis, hence, UTME results should always be fresh and not warehoused like factory products.
According to him, each examination tests the capacity of a candidate who is fairly judged against other candidates in the same cycle of examinations.
“This cohorting is how to get the best candidates into our tertiary institutions. It happened before JAMB and should remain so. I agree that, once admitted and matriculated, a student’s admission could be deferred for a good reason,” he stated.
While insisting that the examination body is still important, the educationist called for the decentralisation of the agency for greater efficiency.
The Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, blamed the development on coronavirus pandemic, which put the academic activities in disarray as well as unusal and unfriendly environmental factors such as insecurity and kidnapping of school children.
Oloyede said when the data of candidates who scored 120 marks and above out of the possible 400 in 2021 is compared to what obtained in 2020, there is a difference of 0.25 per cent. But worse when 2018 and 2019 performances are considered.
He said: “In 2018, it was 99.99 per cent but in 2019 it dropped to 99.92. Also, in 2020, 69.82 per cent of the total candidates who sat the UTME scored 160 and above but in 2021, it reduced to 65.62 per cent. In 2019, the percentage of those who scored more than 300 out of the possible 400 marks was 0.16 per cent while it was 0.26 per cent in 2020. But in 2021, he said the figure fell steeply to 0.06 per cent.
The examination body said a total of 1,415,501 registered for both UTME and direct entry. Out of this figure, 1,340,003 candidates registered for UTME and 75, 498 registered for DE. The total number of candidates who registered specifically for the UTME is 1,300,722 with 78, 389 candidates absent.”
Oloyede, while justifying the mass failure said: “Last year, when they took the examination, candidates had gone far in their syllabus. But this year, they suffered incomplete academic session; they had to cope with emergency online lessons and even many other disturbances like insecurity.”