WHY POST JAMB?
WHY POST JAMB?
By Keye Ewebiyi
The Post JAMB Test introduced by the immediate past Minister of Education has failed in its bid to sanitize the education sector. The exam was initiated illegally to curb the inefficiency of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in conducting credible matriculation examination in Nigeria.
Nigeria is a country where not less than a million students yearly seek admission into various higher institutions to further their education and guarantee themselves a better future. To this day, the system operated by the present capitalist elements has not in anyway aided these hopefuls to secure their future. Rather, it has helped in killing their dreams while political office holders send their children to the best private universities home and abroad. The fall in the standard of education in the country can only be blamed on the inadequate funding of the sector by successive military and civilian capitalist regimes and not JAMB, which is only responsible for the conduct of examinations and placement of suitable candidates.
The recent Post JAMB test also known as screening exam conducted by various institutions in the country is nothing to write home about. The school authorities have continued to convert it into a money making venture by fixing a thousand or two thousand naira as screening fee coupled with other financial obligations which prospective students have to fulfil. The exam was organized in a business as usual manner. In the University of Lagos for instance, the exam was characterized with massive leakages of examination questions, malpractices and impersonation to the extent that security operatives had to arrest and harass the students. That of Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife was quite fraught with frauds and irregularities. The school authorities used the post jamb exam as a means of entrenching the exploitation of the prospective students by charging at least N1000 as non-refundable screening fee. About 22,000 students registered for and wrote the exam while less than 30% of them were to be admitted. This is an indication that students are denied admission on the ground of limited space and not educational ability. In fact the university had to resort to fraudulent and underhand means to edge out many competent candidates.
Malpractices carried out by students during exams are as a result of unproductive teaching and the absence of basic educational facilities like laboratories, libraries, adequate classrooms, etc. This, indeed, has forced many youths of school age to take what seems an easy way out by engaging in criminal and immoral activities such as armed robbery, internet fraud, prostitution, 419, etc, out of frustration and loss of hope in the future.
The under-funding of social services like education and health care has, of course, resulted in the huge brain drain. About 50,000 Nigerian medical doctors are found to be working in New York City alone while more Nigerians are teaching in universities in the US than in Nigeria. It is not accidental that no Nigeria University is rated among the first 6000 in the world or 50 in Africa according to a world rating of universities released recently.
The emergence of private educational institutions in the country is as a result of an enabling environment created by the government in line with its neo-liberal and capitalist policies. Little wonder, Obasanjo (Bells University of Technology) and Atiku (America ABTI University) are bent on establishing their own private universities to maximize profit and fulfill their selfish interest from looted public fund. But in reality, most of these private institutions lack facilities that are of essence in academic, and they also charge exorbitant fees that can only be afforded by the rich.
The introduction of a new system of education 9-3-4 in place of the former 6-3-3-4 as a panacea for the decay in the sector is scratching the surface. The budgetary allocation to education has decreased over the years in spite of the lip service being paid to improving it. Ever since President Obasanjo came on board in 1999, successive education ministers from Tunde Adeniran to Obiageli Ezekwesili have put up different policies purportedly aimed at addressing motley education crises. Yet, each minister has left the sector worse than he/she met it.
To fundamentally save public education from the stranglehold of the Obasanjo government the labour and mass organisations have to lead workers and poor masses to wrest political power and end all anti-poor neo-liberal policies. This is to ensure the commitment of public resources on education, health care and other basic needs for workers, youths and poor masses.