The Bill sponsored by Rep. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe was mooted in March 2022 in the Ninth House of Representatives but failed to move beyond the Committee level
A federal lawmaker, Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, and Speak Out Africa; a non-governmental organisation, have reinforced the need for the pending bill on the validity of the United Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) to be made a top priority in the 10th Assembly.
This came to the fore during an online seminar held on Monday, 6th July 2023, where the lawmaker, who represents Oluyole Federal Constituency in Nigeria’s House of Representatives, argued that the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), should not be a revenue-generating agency for the government.
She further argued that the UTME supervised by JAMB should not be an examination that is conducted every year, and reiterated that JAMB should be assessed on the quality of examination they conduct rather than revenue generated to the coffers of the federal government.
According to Akande-Sadipe, after laying the amendment to the bill on the floor of the House, and it is passed for assent by the President, UTME will have a validity of 3 years.
The Bill, she explained, seeks to increase the validity of UTME results from one year to five years. However, it has been reduced to three years. Making a comparison with examinations across the globe, the Oyo federal lawmaker noted that the tenures and validity of other internationally recognised examinations last up to two-five years. Akande-Sadipe referred participants to examinations of international standards such as GMAT, GRE, IELTS, TETOFL, SAT, MCAT, PTE, and USMLE.
Stressing her passion for the bill, the Oluyole Representative stated that many are victims of the JAMB yearly tests, arguing that a student who passes UTME should not sit for the examination repeatedly; rather, the result should be valid for about three (3) years.
“I am not asking that the exam tenure be extended in cases where people fail. I am asking that it should be extended when people pass.” She queried, “In Nigeria, every year you take JAMB and you don’t get into Uni, you have to repeat JAMB. Why?”
“168, 613 students scored 200 and above in the 2021 UTME; 236,936 scored 190 and above; 327, 624 scored 180, but less than 100 students got admitted into Tertiary institutions. Of the 600 eligible applicants, only about 100 representing 16.67% of candidates got their admission uploaded on the Central Admission Processing System (CAPS),” she said.
Buttressing her point, Akande-Sadipe added: “I sponsored the bill, March 16, 2022, on the floor of the House of Representatives, but because of the magnitude of bills that go to the floor of the House, the bill has gotten to the Committee level and we are almost there.” “I pray the bill becomes a reality. If it becomes a reality, it will take away a lot of hardship away from many homes,” she said.
For the lawmaker, some of the arguments against the bill include: “JAMB is a revenue-generating agency; disguised unemployment and the dichotomy between achievement test and aptitude test.” However, she said that UTME should be a test to assess one’s readiness to go to the university, adding that a candidate’s readiness should not change after attempting and passing it once.
Speaking on behalf of participants, the Convener, Ms Agwu Blessing Newest of Speak-out Africa, commended Akande-Sadipe for championing a course that will be of benefit to the less-privileged in society. The NGO described Akande-Sadipe as an instrument championing a good course for poor Nigerian students who have been a victim of yearly JAMB examinations.