THE NATION——The Senate on Tuesday mandated its committee on Education to invite the leadership of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) over its controversial admission policy.
The upper chamber also asked JAMB to increase the validity of its results from one to three years to reduce the number of yearly applicants.
Senate asked its committee on Education to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the new policy including allegations of favouritism and to review the power of JAMB in relation to admission.
It urged the body to consult widely with Parents Teachers Association, Academic Staff Union of Universities and other stakeholders in the education sector with a view to coming up with a friendlier, holistic, comprehensive and sustainable admission policy.
This followed the adoption of a motion on “JAMB’s new admission policy” sponsored by Senator Joshua Lidani (Gombe South) and seven others.
Lidani in his lead debate reminded the Senate that JAMB is a Board created by an Act of the National Assembly in 1989 to administer a centralized admission system for universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the country.
He noted that by Section 5(1)(C)111 of the JAMB’s Act 2004, the functions of the Board among other things, is the general control of the conduct of matriculation examinations for admission into all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education and also include the placement of suitably qualified candidates in the tertiary institutions having taken into account, the preferences expressed of otherwise indicated by candidates for certain tertiary institutions and courses.
The lawmaker said he is aware that JAMB at its Combined Policy Meeting held on July 14, 2015 in Abuja, announced the adoption of a policy whereby candidates of universities with surplus applicants for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) are reassigned to other universities with lower number of candidates than their capacities.
Lidani said he is concerned that following the announcement of the new policy, the Board was faced with a series of protests by parents, candidates and some Organizations of Tutorial School Operators of Nigeria over the new admission policy.
The lawmaker also said that the new policy runs contrary to the letters and spirit of Section 5(1) ©111 of the JAMB Act which requires the Board to take into account preferences of the candidates in their choice of schools.