– Prof. Aziba
By Neta Nwosu
For some years now, the Nigerian tertiary educational system has been overwhelmed by diverse scandals ranging from mismanagement, corruption, incessant strikes, sex-formarks to flawed National Universities Commission (NUC) accreditation process, faulty promotions and lately, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board’s directive that each university should determine its cut off point as per entry requirements. These issues have no doubt militated against achieving quality education at the tertiary level as indicated in the inauspicious number of Nigerian graduates that are unable to defend their certificates. The re-appointed JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, at its policy meeting last month announced that though tertiary institutions would still use JAMB’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination scores, they could independently determine the cut-off point acceptable to them. Instantly, universities, polytechnics and colleges of education sent their various cut-off marks to JAMB.
Prof. Oloyede, disclosed universities, such as University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) proposed 150, Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, proposed 140, Pan Atlantic University (PAU) proposed 210, University of Lagos (UNILAG) 200, Lagos State University (LASU) 190, Covenant University (CU), Ota, 190 and Bayero University Kano (BUK) 180. Since then, mixed reactions have continued to trail scrapping of the UTME benchmark, as many faulted the directive while others expressed contrary views. Despite JAMB’s explanations, many still protested what they interpreted as JAMB’s unnecessary and preferential treatment for Northern Nigerian candidates.
Most academics insist that the uniform cut-off marks was a laudable idea of establishing minimum standards in the admission process, as it accords all prospective undergraduates a fair ground devoid of stigmatisation and disparity in admission standards as others lauded the decision. In an exclusive interview with The Catholic Herald, Prof. Peter Aziba, Professor of Pharmacy and Toxicology, Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo state, posited that the federal government is responsible for the deplorable state of tertiary education in the country. He said, “As for JAMB, the recent call that universities should determine its entry point again corroborated my earlier call that JAMB is an unpredictable body with hidden agenda to favour a section of the country.
What is certain with JAMB is uncertainty. It is a body that should be scrapped. JAMB to my observation is not serving the common good of Nigeria educational system. It’s all politics by mediocre who by religion or ethnicity found appointment to head such a body. Let us go back to each university conducting its exams and give admission to qualified students. “Imagine, a student with 80 marks can be admitted by educationally disadvantaged state, run his or her undergraduate course and proceeds to a higher degree. If by design, he or she is made Minister of Education, what directives and compliance will he or she now issue to her subordinates who are better grounded.
“This is what we are witnessing in the educational sector in this country. We are destroying the future of our children as a result of incompetence, mediocrity, ethnicity, religion and favouritism. Please note that all educational parastatals of the Federal Government are controlled by ethnic and religious considerations. See NUC, JAMB, NECO to mention a few. It is a disturbing phenomenon in our educational sector. It is a shame.”