The Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) has been advised to reduce the cut off for under-graduates seeking admission into tertiary institutions to address alleged irregularities noticed in this year’s examination.
Giving his opinion on the conduct and outcome of the extermination, a member of the Association of Private Coaching Centers, Olawuyi Olufemi, said complaints ranging from non-provision of calculator, irregular shutting down of computers and non-release of the results of the students were rampant.
He said that the additional allocation of 40 marks to some students was not clear, wondering how some would benefit while others would be exempted.
Mr Olufemi further urged JAMB to find a lasting solution to alleged irregularities and requested that the body should urgently release the results still outstanding.
Some students also explained their experience, ranging from non-release of results to irregular shutting down of computers during examinations.
The Head National Office of the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) says the assumption that those who proceed to the university based on their WAEC results are those that pass the exam is not true.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Charles Eguridu, said that the assumption on those who obtain credit in Mathematics and English Language constitute those who pass WAEC and the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) is misleading.
Mr Eguridu said that the Nigerian National Policy on Education does not prescribe that everybody who writes WAEC examination must gain admission into the university.
He added that those “who have the aptitude would gain admission into any tertiary institution while those who do not have the ability, can enroll in teachers’ training colleges, polytechnics, colleges of education and nursing schools.
“I don’t see basically what is necessary for a candidate to have credit in Mathematics to be a musician,yet we need Mathematics everyday”.
He, nonetheless said that statistically,we have about 58 per cent of candidates who obtained grade 1-6 in Mathematics and about the same percentage in English Language.
“The statistics before me shows that about 58.08 per cent of the candidates who wrote the examination in 2015, had credits in Mathematics and English Language respectively
“In English Language, we had a total of one million, five hundred and eighty five thousand, seven hundred and ninety six candidates who sat for the examination, and of this number, nine hundred and twenty one thousand, one hundred and thirty eight obtained grade 1-6.
“While in Mathematics, we had one million, five hundred and eighty three thousand, two hundred and fifty six candidates who wrote the examination and of this number, nine hundred and thirty four thousand, four hundred and eleven candidates passed the examination by obtaining grade 1-6
39 per cent of the candidates passed Mathematics, English Language and three other subjects”, he said.
Mr Eguridu, however, maintained that some candidates were not prepared for the examination which led to failure in subjects like economics, biology, physics and chemistry.
Speaking about some factors that militated the performance of the candidates, Mr Eguridu said that poor quality of teaching and learning in the schools, lack of teaching aids, laboratories and library could militate the performance of the students.
He, nonetheless said that the perception of education, which according to candidates, is about passing examination and gaining admission, should be tackled with.
“Education is meant to equip the individual for a life time,” he stressed.
Speaking about the relationship between WAEC and state governments, Mr Eguridu said that “the policy to pay the entry fee of candidates, is what i must commend the state”.
The Head National Office of WAEC said that the debt owed by some states affected the operation of WAEC.
A member of the House of Representatives, Abike Dabiri-Erewa has accused the Nigerian media of a disappointing lackadaisical attitude to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) passed two years.
Noting that despite the rigours undertaken to get the bill passed and signed into law, she claimed the law has being grossly under-utilized by Nigerians and the media amidst the widespread corruption in the country.
Mrs Dabiri-Erewa made this known at the 5th Wole Soyinka Centre media lecture series on Saturday in Lagos where she challenged the media and civil society organisations to further ask questions on some of the revelations uncovered by the various committees of the House of Representatives.
Where is the money?
Highlighting the $16billion fuel subsidy scam unveiled by an adhoc committee set-up by the House to investigate the fraudulent payment of fuel subsidy, the lawmaker asked “where is the money?”
“We (House of Representatives) brought the fuel subsidy scam to fore by revealing that there was no subsidy, that all we are subsidising was corruption and nobody has asked the question on what has happened to the money.”
The lawmaker, who sponsored the FOIA in the House, described the bill as a gift from the National Assembly stating that “the 7th Assembly has given this bill as a gift to Nigeria’s democracy,” but “nothing has happened afterwards with using the law.”
She claimed that the House Committee on the Implementation of the FOI has also just discovered that a lot of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) do not have a FOI Unit to address such request when they are made as mandated by the law and “nobody is asking the questions” she lamented.
“Right now, only 29 MDAs are submitting the annual expenditure and nobody is asking questions.”
She also cited an example of the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) which according to her earns about N26billion from the sale of forms to students seeking admission into the nation’s universities, “yet 86 per cent of these students are not given admission and nobody ask what JAMB does with the money.”
She however commended the Nigerian Army for the adequate implementation of the FOIA, saying that House Committee has discovered that the Army and a few agencies have set-up the FOI Unit and also have dedicated phone lines to address any FOI request.
“Let us use this law to know how the nation’s resources are used judiciously or not” she appealed.
In his comments, the chairman of National Human Rights Commission, Dr Chidi Odinkalu, noted that “the tyranny of rights cannot make progress with citizens who want to take responsibility.”
He linked the access to information with access to education as he enjoined Nigerians to demand explanations from government and public servants, who according to him “see access to information as a way to block how government is ran.”
Dr Odinkalu, however called for caution in the expectations of the FOIA, stating that Nigeria got the FOIA in 2011 after 100years of operating a secretive policy imposed by British colonial masters in 1911 and sustained onwards.
Delivering the keynote lecture Prof Biodun Jeyifo, had earlier in his lecture titled: The Freedom Of Information Act and the Dictatorship of Corruption and Mediocrity, decried Nigerians failure to use the FOIA despite some confessions of looting by politicians recently.
He recalled the duel between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice-President Atiku Abubakar in 2006, when the former President asked the National Assembly to commence impeachment proceedings against the latter over the blatant looting of the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF).
The academic stated that the Vice-President did not deny the charges but confessed that the President’s cronies and girlfriends were beneficiaries of the loot and this allegation was substantiated with series of newspaper publications of incriminating documents.
“No FOI action could bring out the information that was voluntarily divulged by Obasanjo and Atiku and till today, nothing has happened to the duo” said Prof Jeyifo.
He described the nation’s type of democracy as ‘dictatorship in democracy’ which is not paranoid or unembarrassed by any allegation of corrupt practices as corruption and mediocrity reigns supreme in this country.”
The Professor of African Studies and Comparative Literature from Harvard University, decried the media for being “remarkably reticent to compel our leaders to comply with the dictates of the FOI,” as he warned that “the nation’s democracy is averse to the rule of law and on the verge of a failed state.”