As the controversy over the scrapping of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB, rages, former Education Minister, Prof Jubril Aminu, has warned the government not to tamper with the agency in the interest of the nation.
Aminu, who made his feelings known in an exclusive interview with Vanguard, pointed out that doing away with JAMB would create a serious challenge to the nation’s tertiary education system than imagined.
The former minister, who observed that the problems that gave rise to the setting up of JAMB were even more pronounced than they were before the establishment of the agency, made it clear that any attempt to jettison the agency could thrown the nation’s tertiary institutions’ admission process into unmitigated chaos.
Aminu said,”Nobody should be talking about scraping JAMB because that would mean the end of the sanity into the admission process in Nigeria. Look, if some people have forgotten, JAMB was formed with serious thinking with a view to removing the challenges that confronted the admission process in Nigeria.
“Among other things, it was to remove the problem of tribalism, ethnicity and favouritism that had become rampant in the admission process and pave the way for a standardised method of enrol lying students into tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
“It was not perfect but it has helped immensely in setting a certain standard and national leverage in the admission of students into tertiary institutions in the country and reduced undue pressure of parents on the authorities because if your ward does not pass UTME conducted by JAMB, there is nothing you can do to get a place for them.
“So, my candid advice to the government is that no matter what it is, JAMB should not be scrapped. If it is not performing maximally, there are many options open to the administration to make it to work better and serve the Nigerian people rather than scrapping it.
Aminu blamed the problems afflicting the nation’s education system on poor funding and poor managements and called for a change of tactics so as to save the system from collapse.
According to him, the population of students in the education system far outweigh the amount of money committed into funding education by the government.
The former minister said it was wrong for many tiers of government to toy with the salaries and allowances of teachers and still expect them to perform magic at the same time.
“If we must get it right in the education sector, the government must be willing to commit commensurate funds to meet the demands of that vital sector of the economy,” he admonished.