JAMB: Prof Oloyede, beyond the Congrats, Speeches and Predictions

With many policies summersaults and controversial course of actions that JAMB has been renowned for in recent years, many Nigerians, especially students and those in the education sector of the country had welcomed the news of the sack of Prof. Dibu Ojerinde with pleasure and the appointment of Prof. Is-haq Olarewaju Oloyede with immense anticipation.

These expectations of the students are not out of place considering that at the moment of Oloyede’s appointment, JAMB has been dubbed as a ‘confused body’ by some commentators and analysts.

Prof Is-haq Oloyede stepped into the shoes of Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, the first Nigerian Professor of Tests and Measurement who was appointed as the Director of Monitoring and Evaluation, National Primary Education Commission (NPEC) in 1990, the Director and Consultant at Centre for Educational Measurement (CEM), Federal Ministry of Education in 1991 and the Registrar of the National Board for Educational Measurement, NBEM between 1992 – 1999 had served as the Registrar of National Examination Council, NECO for 8 years (1999 – 2007) before his appointed as Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB. The question is that will he be able to redeem the decrepit image of the board.

Pre-Prof. Dibu Ojerinde JAMB

Before the creation of JAMB, each institution conducted its own tests and admitted the candidates of their choice. The system created a lot of confusion and erosion on the lean purse of candidates who had to obtain several forms and write different tests in the quest to gain admission.

Parents who were clamouring for a centralised examination agency won the battle when JAMB was established by Act 2 of 1978 which was amended by Decree 33 of 1989 and Decree 4 of 1993 with the objectives which include the conduct of credible matriculation examinations and placement of qualified candidates into higher institutions.

JAMB examinations were the only tickets which such candidates needed to gain admission into schools until about a few years ago when the credibility of the tests became doubtful. The tests were riddled with malpractices, encouraged by parents who bought examination papers for their children, invigilators who connived with the cheats, tutorial centres that bastardised the idea of special centres and mercenaries who stayed outside the examination halls to smuggle answers to candidates writing the papers.

But following allegations of malpractices, there was agitation in the late 90s for the scrapping of the board.

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Prof. Dibu Ojerinde JAMB

Prof. Dibu Ojerinde’s appointment as Registrar/Chief Executive, JAMB was heralded and the expectation was that he will bring to bear his vast experience in testing to the Board. He immediately introduced a system of biometric data capture of staff of the Board for the purpose of security, monitoring of attendance and movements.

He introduced biometric capture of candidates’ data and this was very effective in checking security clearance of candidates before permitting them into the examination halls. It will be recalled that in 2007, he pleasantly shocked the nation when the results of the 2007 UME were released within two weeks after the examination, a feat that was unprecedented in the history of the Board. Before Prof Dibu, the results were ordinarily released 2-3 months after the conduct of the examination.

As the Registrar of JAMB, he supervised the release of the Universities Matriculation Examination (UME) and Monotechnics, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Matriculation Examination (MPCE/ME) results within a week in 2008 and 2009 respectively and Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) results within a week in 2010, 2011, 2012; 2013 and 2014 UTME and released the results of 2015 CBT on the examination day.

He midwived the merger of the two examinations conducted by the Board. The Universities Matriculation Examination (UME) and the Monotechnics, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Matriculation Examination (MPCE) were consolidated into one examination known as Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). This was aimed at reducing wastage, cost, enabling seamless admission etc.

Nevertheless, after 9 years as the Registrar of JAMB, the board has been dubbed as a ‘confused body’ by some commentators and analysts because of some of its policies summersaults.

From the insistence by Board to rely solely on Computer-Based Test (CBT) for the conduct of UTME, to the policy of reassigning candidates of universities with surplus applicants for the Unified Matriculation Examinations (UME) to the “needy universities” with lower number of candidates of applicants in 2015, the alleged use of wrong software, resulting in conflicting and multiple results in 2016 and the faulty and controversial new guidelines for 2016 admission process released by the Board for admission of candidates into Nigerian tertiary institutions which amounted to JAMB acting beyond its powers and was later withdrawn by the body, it was obvious that the change of leadership of the board was imminent.

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The 2016 examination was fraught with other irregularities bordering on result multiplicity, centre relocation and system failure. Many candidates and their parents stormed Lagos State House of Assembly to protest the conduct of the examination, just as the House of Representatives directed the Federal Ministry of Education to compel JAMB to revert to the initial Paper-Pencil test method.

Oloyede and Policy Expectation

The new Registrar of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Is-haq O. Oloyede, OFR, FNAL was born in October 1954 in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun State and has served as Deputy Vice – Chancellor (Academic), Deputy Vice -Chancellor (Administration) and Vice Chancellor of University of Ilorin. To those who known Unilorin before and after his reign, one can only agree that he is a right man to step into the shoe of Prof. Ojerinde.

One must agree with Prof. Oloyede when he said “I said that I deserved no congratulation for the same reason for which you do not congratulate a medical doctor that is about to perform a surgery. It is only after a successful operation that such a person can be congratulated.’ The board truly needs surgery and a quick one for that matter.

The new Registrar had stated that his agenda will be anchored on five main crucibles, which are Welfare, Discipline Technology, Transparency and Networking.

It is expected that this should not be limited to the staff of JAMB alone but extended to students. One of the major expectation from the new JAMB’s boss is to work as quick as possible to ensure that the impression that the board is a confuse body is corrected and the direction of the body made known to the stakeholders in the education sector.

The new Registrar will have to review some of the policies of his predecessor, some of them need amendment and revision while some others need to be jettison.

Hence, at this moment, arms are still folded in expectation of the Midas touch that Prof Oloyede would bring to the troubled waters of the board.

By Ibrahim Ola Balogun, a policy Analysis and social commentator.

 

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