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“Over-concentration on Jamb performance is not useful, indicative of systemic defects” — Doyin Odebowale

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In a scathing critique of Nigeria’s education system, Oladoyin Odebowale, Ph.D., a classics lecturer at the University of Ibadan, has lambasted the overemphasis on JAMB (Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board) performance, labelling it as unproductive and indicative of broader systemic defects.

Odebowale questioned the benefits of a flawed education system that places disproportionate importance on JAMB scores, emphasising that this approach fails to assess the holistic abilities of students and limits their potential beyond standardised testing.

He said, “The pretension, which suggests that real examinations take place after secondary school, is stupid.”

The lecturer sharply criticised what he considered the misguided celebration of academic achievements within a system that lacks fundamental integrity.

He pointed out the futility of achieving a “first class of nothing,” implying that superficial success in examinations does not translate into meaningful educational outcomes.

“What are the advantages derivable from a fundamentally defective education system? First Class of nothing gives something much worse,” Odebowale said.

He decried the “avuncular hypocrisy” of the current JAMB registrar, highlighting issues such as power outages during examinations and the inadequacy of examination centres approved by the board.

He remarked, “The avuncular hypocrisy of the current Registrar of Jamb is deplorable. There is no electricity. The useless centres approved by the body are ill-prepared for such a sophisticated endeavour. Yet you find funny elements that grandstand on the perceived ‘huge success’ achieved in curbing examination malpractices.”

He condemned the exploitation of candidates through exorbitant fees and questioned the sincerity of efforts to curb examination malpractices.

“Granted that there has been a remarkable shift in predisposition to malfeasance under the watch of the leadership of the Board for sometime now, the celebration of huge returns, extorted from candidates after registration, is misplaced. These are the proceeds of a grand extortionate programme. It is antithetical to a serious quest for capacity building of the development agents in an underdeveloped economy,” he said.

Acknowledging some improvements in combating malfeasance, Odebowale cautioned against the celebration of financial gains made from candidate registrations, which he viewed as part of an extortionate scheme that runs contrary to genuine capacity-building in a struggling economy.

Odebowale advocated for university autonomy in admissions processes, arguing that JAMB’s regulatory functions encroach upon universities’ rights to determine the quality of their students.

He criticised the over-centralisation of university education, calling it counterproductive and urging for a more decentralised approach that respects individual institutions’ standards and practices.

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