JAMB: What is the Essence of Conducting an Examination While ASUU Is On Strike?
By Mustapha Salis Yakubu
HOTPEN – The lingering imbroglio between the Nigerian Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that grounded educational activities in public universities is one that lent further credence to a sad reality owing to the abundance of resources God has bestowed the Nigerian state with but the ruling aristocrats pay less attention to the plight of Universities in the country.
ASUU, the nation’s intellectual body has for years been at loggerheads with the Federal Government regarding unmet demands which include the Implementation of the Memorandum of Action (MoA) it signed with the Gov’t in the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, Deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), Funding for Revitalization of public universities (both Federal and States), proliferation and governance issues in State Universities, promotion arrears, and withheld salaries among others.
This tug of war between ASUU and the Federal Government has led to a series of warnings and indefinite strikes almost on annual basis. The action which justified this popular maxim, “when two elephants are fighting the grass suffers the consequences” has dashed the hope of many students in Nigerian public institutions. As many cannot predict when they will graduate. Since a 4 course has turned into a 5-year course, likewise a 5-year course has turned into a 6-year course that is if the student doesn’t have any academic issues such as carry-over and spillover.
Despite the waves of problems that surfaced by the authority of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board in the conduct of the 2020 admission exercise in the aftermath of ASUU’s 9-month-old strike, still the body forges ahead to create unnecessary difficulties for the Universities to admit students.
Two set students just managed to get into the system after various admission ratios were adopted on how to accommodate them into the system.
Before the 2020 strike and the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a set on the ground for JAMB waiting for admission and after both the strike and pandemic, JAMB still conducted another entrance examination. Thereby, raising the numbers to 2 sets on the ground and leaving universities to battle with strategies on how to balance the admission ratio of both sets coupled with the responsibilities of trying to fill in the lost gap for the current students in the system due to the strike.
Despite these scenarios, JAMB is currently conducting its annual entrance examinations into public universities. This is observed, one will figure out that there are roughly about 3 sets on the ground all in the same year. This congestion will lead to issues of who to be admitted and who should be denied. Even if they are all admitted, where will they be accommodated? How is the knowledge going to flow?
In the sequel to the above, JAMB authorities are in dire need to be called to order. This is because if academic activities can be grounded for 2-3 years without motion, then there’s no reason for conducting admission exams into universities. Since the one’s currently in the system are not moving, then a pause should be applied for admitting new ones until the space is cleared.
However, the Federal Government should understand that education is the bedrock for the development of any nation in the world, if neglected or not rectified to be functioning effectively the country may be lagging in different developmental endeavors.
Therefore the Federal Government needs to do the needful and settle issues with ASUU.
Mustapha Salisu Yakubu is a Digital Journalist. He writes from Kano. He can be reached via: email@example.com