Saturday, 20 February 2010

Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination: The task ahead of JAMB

AS the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) gets set to conduct the first Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), many are watching with keen interest how it will translate the policy of government into a worthy venture.
Last year, all the matriculation examinations organised by JAMB were scrapped for the unified examination, which attempts to give the secondary school leaver a range of options between universities and other tertiary institutions.
However, the examination, scheduled to hold on April 17, is already attracting comments.
The inability of JAMB to hold a problem-free examination came to the fore last year when a lot of students were asked to recheck their UME scores, as the science subjects were not accurately marked.
Many are afraid that the body will be unable to cope with the turnout of candidates, having been unable to successfully organise separate exams without problems in the past.
Mathew Ede, who owns an online registration center in Benin City, said that JAMB official website experienced extreme pressure due to the huge number of candidates who attempted to fill their online forms in order to beat the January 29 deadline for registration. He noted that filling the online form was a Herculean task.
Some candidates also complained that they had to buy new scratch cards because after submission, other candidates’ forms appeared during printing.
Some others said that since they scratched their cards, they had been unable to successfully fill their online forms. They are either told that the courses or the universities of their choice do not exist in the site’s database — which is contrary to what is on the site’s brochure — that their PIN number do not exist.
Some other candidates have been unable to reconcile the courses chosen in their choice universities with those in colleges of education as they are told that the subject combination is wrong.
These are, however, minor problems for JAMB compared to the daunting task of organising a hitch-free examination in April.

UNILAG upgrades Faculty of Business Administration curriculum

AS a result of ongoing collaboration between public and private sector, the University of Lagos is putting in place, a process that will enhance its business management curriculum. The move is to bridge the gap between what the labour market wants and what tertiary institutions are teaching.
The new curriculum is a product of a two-year research by Faculty of Education management, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Kansas State University and British American Tobacco Nigeria.
Speaking during announcement of the initiative, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Federation, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode (SAN), commended the project partners for their foresight.
“A curriculum development programme such as this is very important because it provides human capability development that addresses skills gap, which is not only timely but appropriate in view of the present global socio-economic challenges,” he said.
He was, however, full of confidence that initiatives like this would help raise the profile of graduates from Nigerian institutions.
The Coordinator, Dr. A.A. Sulaimon said the course is currently being offered only by the Faculty of Business Administration, but is open to other students who wish to ‘borrow’ it.
He paid tributes to the project partners, the authorities of the university and the Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration, Professor Ben Oghojafor, for their relentless efforts in ensuring the possibility of the initiative.
Giving an overview of the project, the USAID Team Leader (Education), Dr. Sandy Ojikutu, stated it is aimed at “increasing the productivity of the youths, as well as arming them with relevant skills to make them competitive and fit into needs of the private sector. Partnerships like this will help in the overall development of the educational sector.”

AAU students protest fee increase, as landlord ejects UNAAB from building

ACADEMIC and commercial activities at Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Edo State, came to a halt during the week as students of the state-owned institution took to the streets, protesting alleged increment in tuition fees from N26,000 to N76,000 for full-time students, and from N30,000 to N100,000 for part-time.
Surrounding supermarkets and filling station were set ablaze, and banks raided. The Benin-Auchi-Abuja Road was also barricaded, forcing all vehicles to divert to Iruekpen-Sabonggida-Ora/Afuze-Auchi Road.
Edo State Commissioner for Education, Ngozi Osareren, has denied the increase, but added that the school authorities are to decide on the new tuition fees.
Meanwhile, the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), in a statement jointly signed by its national coordinator, Hassan Taiwo and secretary, Chinedu Bosah, called the state government and the school authority to revert to the former fees. “The fees have been provocatively and unwarrantedly increased, and we see no justification for it, given the socio-economic difficulties most Nigerians are passing through.”
According to the group, it will be inconsiderate to ask citizens earning N7,500 as minimum wage to pay N100,000 for their wards’ university education.
Commenting on the issue, Information and Orientation Commissioner, Abdul Oroh, condemned the action of the students, which he said was hijacked by hoodlums, adding that the police will be allowed to do its work and bring those responsible for the destruction of properties to book.

IN a related development, the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB), has been ejected from its mini-campus at the Isale-Igbein, Ogun State.
The building was used during take-off 22 years ago before the construction of its permanent site at Alabata, outskirt of Abeokuta.
The Vice-Chancellor of UNAAB, Olufemi Olaiya Balogun, confirming this, said, “on the sudden directive from our landlord, the Anglican Communion, that we should vacate its properties, which serve as our mini campus at Isale-Igbein, we have begun the process of relocating.”
Sources close the church say; the Anglican Communion is planning to convert the property to a seminary.

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