By Paul Obi in Abuja
The Joint Action Coalition of Civil Society Organisation for Transparency in Governance yesterday took a swipe at the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over its strong opposition to the ongoing reforms and innovations introduced by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to ease admission into the nation’s tertiary institutions.
They argued that the innovations are capable of reducing corruption in the educational sector and eradicating the problem of admission racketeering in the country.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Executive Director/Convener of the coalition, Mr. Sabo Odeh, condemned the recent attack on JAMB by ASUU, accusing the union of being resistant to reforms and innovations being introduced by JAMB under Professor Ishaq Oleyede.
ASUU had in recent times called for the scrapping of JAMB in order to give tertiary institutions freedom in admissions.
Odeh explained that the latest trick deployed by ASUU is to call for the scrapping of JAMB.
He observed that reforms introduced by JAMB into admission process in Nigeria appears to have taken many members of ASUU engaged in admission racketeering out of business and they are not happy.
Odeh said: “If ASUU is allowed to dictate how JAMB does it work, it is a matter of time before the lecturers set their sight on WAEC, Secondary and even primary schools.
“The clamour by ASUU that each university should be allowed to handle its own admission process is an open call to empower these admission syndicates operated by no other persons but ASUU members.
“Heeding ASUU’s ill-conceived call would send us back to the problems that JAMB was set up to solve.
“In the years that preceded JAMB, it was common to see some candidates secure admission into as many as five universities which implies that four slots would be wasted as the student can only resume in one school, while several other candidates are made to wait another year at home because these slots have been wasted.”
Odeh blamed ASSU for the decay in the education sector that the country is facing, stating that, “the union has lost its moral compass and does not have the capacity to challenge the reforms being introduced by JAMB under professor Oleyede.”
He further maintained that many citizens are now conversant with the antics of ASUU and will ensure that the progress made by JAMB under Prof Oleyede is sustained.
“ASUU, as it did in the 90s, is giving the impression that it is genuinely interested in the wellbeing of would be undergraduates.
“We took time to study the situation with a view to ascertaining if ASUU’s intervention in the way JAMB conducts its major or mock examination is altruistic as they make it appear.
“Sadly, all that can be surmised from ASUU’s interference in this process is that they have resumed their efforts to hijack the education sector for their own purposes. Note that we say education sector because they have gone beyond their remit as higher institution teachers to dabble into academic levels that are outside their jurisdiction,” he stressed.
The group added that the reforms and innovations introduced by the JAMB remains the best approach to ensure that only the most qualified are admitted into the nation’s tertiary institutions.
He said: “The embrace of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), coupled with other policy direction has helped JAMB make changes that increased the admission chances of applicants.
“It has for instance streamlined the options of schools that candidates have based on careful analysis of trends. This innovation is also responsible for the curtailing of the way ASUU members used to manipulate admissions while side-lining JAMB.”