The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, has tasked major stakeholders and heads of tertiary institutions on decorum and integrity in the discharge of their duties.
Adamu made the remarks at the annual Policy Meeting of Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria, conveyed by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) at Gbongan in Osun State.
The Renaissance reports that the forum provides education administrators, an opportunity to give score-cards to the public on the assessment of their performance with respect to admissions.
The minister’s call came against the backdrop of incessant cases of immoralities and sharp practices by some senior members of staff in higher institutions.
“Let these qualities of cardinal pillars include transparency, honesty, sincerity, equity, loyalty, integrity and commitment to nation building be our guiding principles.
“Therefore, we should be dissuaded from doing any official business under the table.
“Heads of tertiary institutions are encouraged to institutionalise the enumerated qualities.
“Some of you carry out your duties with full understanding and knowledge that some of your actions cannot stand the test of integrity, as some of the infractions you endorse and approve are irregular,” the minister said.
Adamu said a lot of lapses with documentary evidence had been brought to his attention and, therefore, asked every institution to abide by all regulations they have agreed to, especially on illegal and irregular admissions.
He enjoined them to ensure their morality and decorum commensurates with the level and volume of transformation and development that have been recorded within the last three years of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
“We have ensured that abandoned projects have either been fully completed or are currently being completed. We have also started new projects in the various institutions.
“We have continued to license more tertiary institutions in order to expand access, while the regulatory bodies have been empowered and supported to accredit more relevant programmes.
“Focus has been on programmes that would add value to the Nation’s development.
“All Universities on temporary campuses have been directed to develop and move to their permanent sites with a lot of support from the Federal Government. We have achieved relative peace and harmony on most of the campuses.
“Our universities are regaining their glories and the institutions are attracting international interest all over again,” he said.
The minister reminded the stakeholders that, in the spirit and letter of the enabling law of the JAMB, all applications for admissions to First Degree, National Diploma, National Innovative Diploma and the Nigeria Certificate in Education must be processed only through the JAMB.
These include Full Time, Distance Learning, Part Time, Outreach, Sandwitch and so on.
He stressed that while higher institutions are allowed to conduct Post-UTME screening, the gross charge for the screening should not be more than two thousand Naira only (N2,000), warning that any violation would attract firmer sanctions than those of last session.
Need for multi-level assessment
Corroborating the minister’s stance, the JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede maintained the need to retain multi-level assessment in arriving at the cut off mark, rather than the old practice of relying only one UTME scores.
“UTME marks alone cannot not be used as the cut-off mark. For instance, findings show that about 80 percent of the best graduating students didn’t score up to 200 in JAMB examinations.
“We should also be flexible in our admission modalities. For instance, some institutions do waive Mathematics for courses like Arabic and history. This is a welcome development, but it still must not be done under the table.
“Part of flexibility is to waive Mathematics for blind candidate. That is the global best practice. You don’t expect a blind man to have a credit pass in Mathematics.
“We thank all those who admitted blind people, but we can still do better,” Oloyede said.
According to him, every institution must conduct its admission at the same time with others, even when resumption would be late.
He warned that any institution that fails in this regard would lose all the candidates that apply to other ready ones.
The host, Gov. Rauf Aregbesola challenged the stakeholders and government across levels on ensuring solid foundation at primary and high school levels.
He said Nigeria’s contemporary challenge is rooted in the faulty foundation of basic education.
“Colonial education was not designed to make us productive. The education we inherited doesn’t make us to be conscious of our environment, and any education that does not sensitise one to be responsible to his environment is defective
“Let’s make education relevant to the receiver so that he can render back to the society.
“Education must develop critical thinkers, those that can add values to the society and those who have sympathy and empathy of the people.
“We must review education at the formative level,” Aregbe said.
From Adeyinka Aremu, Osogbo