Lagos -The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) on Monday said that the enrolment for Colleges of Education, Polytechnics and Monotechnics and Innovative Enterprise Institutions had improved greatly.
JAMB’s Head, Media and Information, Dr Fabian Benjamin, said this in a statement he issued in Lagos on Monday.
It said that the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) had expanded the carrying capacity of the institutions and thereby, to a large extent, addressed the issue of admission access in the country.
According to the statement, the negative preference by most Nigerian candidates over these institutions of higher learning necessitated the need by the board to introduce a unified examination.
“Today, we are not there yet, but the enrolment for colleges of education, polytechnics, monotechnics and Innovative Enterprise Institutions has greatly improved.
“Having said this, I want to say that we are worried by a recent interview granted by the Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Rahmon Bello, where he allegedly blamed the Board for admission challenges in tertiary education.
“The respected scholar also said that the board’s matriculation examination should be split into three, with the universities, polytechnics and colleges of education each having separate entrance examination.
“We sincerely appreciate this concern over the challenges of admission, especially as it affects carrying capacity and the preferences of candidates for universities over other tiers of tertiary institutions.
“However, the board would want the public to note that it was this same concern amongst others that led to the unification of the matriculation examination,’’ the statement said.
According to the statement, when the board was conducting UME for universities and MPCE for other institutions of higher learning, one of the major concerns of stakeholders was the negligible number of candidates sitting for the MPCE.
“For instance, when over a million candidates sit for the UME, less than 200,000 applied for the MPCE.
“ At the 2008 National Council of Education meeting, it was observed that the disparity in entrance examination and separate examination was partly responsible for this negligible enrolment.
“The Prof. Dibu Ojerinde-led board was then mandated to fashion a way of addressing this challenge and ensure uniformity in entrance requirements.
“It was to also look into the admissions and also to improve the patronage of these tiers and above all, ensure that teachers and technical education in the country get the best,’’ it said.
According to the statement, today, one of the challenges that has negatively affected the choice of university over others is the issue of the HND/B.Sc dichotomy.
It said that the board was appealing to all stakeholders to call on government to urgently address this issue, as it holds the key to resolving the preference of universities over other tertiary institutions in the country.
It said that when policies ran into stormy waters, there was the need to find a lasting solution by involving all stakeholders rather than jettison all its gains.
“What we should be looking at now if there are challenges of admission is to look for ways of improving on the policies and ensure that the today gains are sustained and improved upon.
“One of the gains of the Unified Matriculation Examination by the board is the tremendous increase in the patronage for polytechnics, colleges of education and the Innovative Enterprises Institutions.
“This is as against what was the situation before the unification used to be.
“The board has not achieved a 100 per cent result due to other variables, but wishes to appeal to government to support this drive.
“Government can achieve this by first removing the certificate dichotomy and placing of graduates of polytechnics and universities on the same scale in the civil service and private sector employee scheme, if practicable,’’ the statement said.
It noted that going back to separate examination would worsen the situation and return the country back to the starting stage.
The statement said that the situation where candidates who applied for placements into universities could not be admitted and as well could not take up admission opportunities in other institutions of higher learning would play up.
It said that that such a development would further place heavy financial burdens on the candidates, as they would want to sit for all the examinations to achieve the same result that the unified examination was currently giving them.
“If all graduates of both universities and polytechnics are to be seen to be the same, then they must equally have the same treatment.
“Our teachers too must also be the products of good competition,’’ it said. (NAN)