The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has openly welcomed the Senate’s decision to investigate allegations of admission racketeering in Nigerian universities. This development follows a motion raised by Senator Onyeka Nwebonyi (Ebonyi North), citing the admission difficulties of Chinyere Ekwe at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Senator Nwebonyi alleged that staff members of the university, in collusion with JAMB officials, engaged in unwholesome practices. This prompted Senate President Godswill Akpabio to call for a fair hearing, acknowledging JAMB’s reputation as a reputable institution.
JAMB’s Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, expressed appreciation for the Senate’s decision, allowing the examination body to defend itself. He stated, “The Senate President said JAMB must be heard because JAMB has integrity. We thank them sincerely and we say thank you for allowing us to be heard.”
The case in question involves Chinyere Ekwe, who sat for the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and scored 291. Despite her high score, she was ranked 241st among applicants for the Medicine and Surgery program at UNN. The university recommended that she change her course to Medical Laboratory, which she accepted in writing. However, she has not received any approval letter from JAMB for either Medicine or Medical Laboratory.
Oloyede clarified that the university had exceeded its admission quota for the Medical Laboratory department and had to reduce the number of admissions. He also noted that many other applicants admitted “under the table” had scored higher than Ekwe.
The JAMB Registrar further explained that the university, in March this year, recommended Ekwe for admission as an undisclosed admission, a practice that is not officially sanctioned by JAMB. He emphasized that if Ekwe is studying Medical Laboratory, it is an arrangement between her and the institution, not officially recognized by JAMB.
Oloyede assured the public that JAMB and its staff would cooperate with the Senate’s investigation and expressed confidence in being vindicated.
The Senate’s decision to probe into the alleged admission racketeering in Nigerian universities, particularly the case involving JAMB, is a crucial step towards ensuring transparency and fairness in the country’s educational system. The allegations, if proven true, could significantly undermine the credibility of the admission process and the integrity of academic institutions.
JAMB’s welcoming stance on the investigation is commendable. It demonstrates a commitment to transparency and accountability, essential qualities for any public institution. However, this case highlights a deeper issue in Nigeria’s education sector – the prevalence of “under the table” admissions and the manipulation of the admission process.
The integrity of academic institutions is paramount. Admission processes should be transparent, merit-based, and free from corruption. Any deviation from these principles not only undermines the credibility of the institutions but also robs deserving students of fair opportunities.
The government and educational authorities must take stringent measures to curb these malpractices. This includes strengthening the regulatory framework, ensuring strict adherence to admission quotas, and implementing robust monitoring mechanisms. Additionally, there should be severe consequences for individuals and institutions found guilty of manipulating the admission process.
As the Senate embarks on this investigation, it must be thorough, fair, and transparent. The outcome of this probe should not only aim to address the specific case of Chinyere Ekwe but also serve as a deterrent against future malpractices. It is only through such decisive actions that trust in Nigeria’s educational system can be restored and maintained.
Did You Know?
- JAMB, established in 1978, is responsible for conducting entrance examinations for prospective undergraduates into Nigerian universities.
- The Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) is a computer-based standardized examination for prospective undergraduates in Nigeria.
- Nigeria has one of the largest higher education systems in Africa, with over 160 universities and tertiary institutions.
- The concept of “catchment area” in Nigerian university admissions is designed to ensure that students from less educationally developed states have increased chances of gaining admission.
- In recent years, JAMB has implemented several technological innovations, such as the Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS), to enhance the transparency and efficiency of the admission process.