Jamb 120, Admission Requirements and Examination Malpractice
By Akeem Alao
“Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire team-mates and customers” Robin S Sharma.
It is a common practice among us Nigerians to trespass on any slight opportunity that opens for criticism. Where constructive criticisms are expected to perfect what we perceive as imperfections of a leader, pedestrian statements are made to ridicule the leader, condemn and frustrate their efforts.
From different quarters, fulminations have continued to trail the pronouncement made by Prof. Ishaq Oloyede over the cut-off marks for admission into higher institutions. Teachers in the university system were seen and heard radiating their displeasure for such ‘unreasonable’ cut-off marks. To them, ‘reducing’ the admission benchmark to a ‘miserable’ level will belittle the already belittled university system. Assertions have been made without any concrete proofs. Condemnations have been detonated as if Oloyede was somnolent when the pronouncement was made. Of what relevance are those unguarded fulminations lacking verifiable proofs. What is the justification for the protestation that the cut-off mark, if introduced or fixed at 120, will create an enabling environment for unbrilliant students? Don’t they deserve to be educated? Is education strictly and solely meant for the rich?
Prior the introduction of points grading as part of the admission procedures to the university, an admission seeker only needed to provide a minimum of five credits in English, Mathematics and any other three relevant subjects. Admission to higher institutions then was within the capacity of the students. It was completely stress-free. No desperation to score beyond their aptitude. In those days, there was no discrimination. And the education sector experienced little or partial involvement of students and schools in examination malpractice.
The moment alphabetical points grading penetrated into the system, there was a radical change and meteoric rise in academic malfeasance at both secondary and university levels. The university authorities ignited the celebration of mediocrity. How? The current admission requirements no longer favour meritorious students but only those who have the financial capacity to monetise their O’ level grades. How many of those who claimed A’s in 8 subjects are performing up to expectations in their various departments? Little wonder why a university took to a draconian decision by sending over 90 students packing over their notoriously abysmal academic performance. https://www.olisa.tv/2016/02/the-university-of-ibadan-sends-97-students-packing-for-poor-aca demic-performance/. No one can build a mansion on a feeble foundation. Students who worked assiduously to sit and pass their papers ended up with 6 credits and never bothered themselves due to their grades while their spoilt contemporaries who idled around looking for a short route to success were given easy access to the university.
Are these institutions unaware of the vital roles they play in the promotion of examination malpractice? Students who cannot afford to buy A’s are either forced into an undeserved prohibitive and outrageously expensive remedial programme or advised to run an uninteresting course.
I wonder what would be the reactions of the critics if the O’ level requirements could be reversed to the olden day’s 5 credits in five relevant subjects, including English and Mathematics in order to favour the children of the rich. Won’t they swim in their tears? What offence has Oloyede committed by his fixing the cut-off marks at 120? Majority of the critics never bothered to read in details https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/08/stakeholders-not-jamb-fixed-admission-cut-off-marks-oloyede/ before commenting. The most painful thing is The most painful thing is the puerile reaction of NANS over the matter. https://www.naijanews.com/education/18860-utme-cut-off-marks-nans-criticises-jamb-threatens-resistance. The body opined that the marks would encourage indolence. What is the body’s definition of ‘indolence’? Did this body ever perceive any imperfections in fixing O’ level requirements at the highest grade? The implication is that all the students are under compulsion to pass their WAEC, GCE NECO and NABTEB with distinctions in all subjects. What’s NANS’ reaction to this?
Akeem Alao writes from Kith and Kin Schools, Ikorodu, Lagos.