JAMB, a revenue-making machine?

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By Ope Adetayo

A report quoted JAMB registrar Prof. Is-haq Oloyede as stating that the examination board made N400 million for change of date of birth on its website. Since Prof. Oloyede’s emergence at the helm of affairs of the board, it has consistently reeled out humongous amounts in profits and remittance. You begin to wonder — what exactly is JAMB’s purpose?

In 2017, which was Oloyede’s first year at the board, N7.8 billion was reportedly remitted to the federal government after the year’s examination. It was widely applauded, as it nearly coincided with the general anti-corruption delusion in the country.

After that, more and more billions have been remitted with N3.5 billion remitted to the federal government in 2020. It is laudable as we hardly have a financially transparent government agency in Nigeria. Before Oleyede, JAMB only remitted N54 million in its 38 years of existence.

It seems we now have accountability and transparency in JAMB. However, on the flip side, it is well-branded exploitation.

It is essentially the government taking from the people it has not given much — or, indeed, anything. JAMB is only empowered by the law to conduct entrance examinations into tertiary institutions and it should not transmute to a revenue-generating machine for the government in the name of accountability.

Read Also: We made N400m from change of birth dates in one year, says Oloyede
In 2017, under the current leadership, JAMB introduced the Central Admission Processing System (CAPS), a centralized admission system designed to check fraudulent admission practices that characterize Nigerian university admission culture and which has led to a serious drop in the quality of students in tertiary institutions in the country. This is revolutionary but it also signaled the commencement of a mercantile JAMB where you can hardly navigate its website without making payments.

If JAMB makes billions in profit for conducting examinations and millions for correcting minor mistakes on its portal, then it has become a part of the problem.

For 2021, the price for the examination is touted to be N4,700 but it can be slashed further. This will allow more students from working-class families to participate in the examination. Other payments can either be drastically reduced or scrapped in their entirety.

Reportedly, only 781,327 candidates out of the estimated 2.1 million candidates scored above 180 (out of a total of 400) in 2020. It is a problem because it is a mass failure.

This is not a problem JAMB is responsible for, JAMB is only a reflection, but the money the board is taking from poor Nigerians should rather go into solving bits of the problem rather than being emptied into the government’s coffers where it will be looted.

Ope Adetayo, <oadetayo@africanliberty.org>

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