24th June, 2021
By Uchenna Eletuo
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has expressed confidence in the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) over its prompt response to challenges at the tertiary entrance examination.
MURIC Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, made this known when he spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.
Akintola said the examination was well regulated.
According to him the body deserves commendation in view of its swift response to challenges.
“JAMB deserves accolade in view of its swift response to challenges and the disciplinary actions meted out to erring Computer Based Test (CBT) Centres during the ongoing JAMB examinations across the country.
“We are not saying JAMB is perfect, but the board has performed creditably well having succeeded in keeping its head above in the murky waters of the Nigerian ecosystem. We monitor national examinations in this country and we know what happens in many of them. But JAMB has been able to rise above the maddening crowd.
“The examination body has demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that it will not take any nonsense from anybody. The swift manner with which JAMB delisted 24 CBT Centres within 24 hours of receiving credible reports of their misdemeanour leaves us in no doubt whatsoever that there will be no hiding place for those who fall short of expectations.
“A case in point is one of the CBT Centres in Lagos where candidates who were billed to start the examination by 7 a.m., on Saturday, June 19, were kept sitting in the hall from 7 a.m., to 3 p.m., doing virtually nothing. Meanwhile, the 9 a.m., batch, as well as other batches, were kept waiting outside,” he said.
Akintola added “The candidates were only told to go home around 3.30 p.m., after wasting the whole day. The centre’s excuse was that its computer systems failed to come up.
“We were very excited when the centre’s name was found among the 25 delisted centres 24 hours later. We are still marvelling at the efficiency and high-level discipline manifested by JAMB.
”This is how things are made to work in a serious country. There must be consequences for negligence or if some people abdicate their responsibilities. What we need is strong systems and a culture of discipline. That is what JAMB is giving us.
“The posting of candidates far away from their bases is an area JAMB may want to look into for improvement. There is always room for better performance in any institution. We discovered during monitoring that some parents and guardians had to accompany their children and wards respectively to sleep overnight somewhere close to the centre.”
“We understand the need for JAMB to remove the proximity and comfort zone factor in order to reduce the level of examination malpractices but perhaps something can still be done to alleviate the suffering of both candidates, parents and wards. This will add lustre to JAMB’s human face.
“Credit must also be given to JAMB for ensuring that the persecution of female Muslim candidates which used to be widespread in the South West during its examination has been reduced to its barest minimum. This was made possible by adequate briefing and enlightenment organised by JAMB for its staff and ad hoc workers prior to the examinations.
“But MURIC still received reports that a few recalcitrant and overbearing security and ad hoc workers still delayed hijab-wearing female candidates for as long as one hour before permitting them to enter the examination hall.”
He suggested that a small leaflet containing the rights of candidates and limitations of officials be among documents to be downloaded by registered candidates.
He added that such a material could also be distributed among all officials at the examination centres, saying that candidates facing harassment and profiling could show such to overzealous security or ad hoc staff.
“Religious sentiment apart, examination officials should be made to realise that harassment of candidates for any reason at all before or during the examination may affect the emotional stability of such candidates and reduce their chances of giving their best during the examinations,” Akintola said.