The Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) organised by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) is one of the most seminal moments in the life of a Nigerian student. It ranks just below getting a tuber of yam and a fowl for being the best graduating student.
I swear, you can’t make this up
The UTME determines if secondary school graduates can go to tertiary institutions. It’s like a gateman in a Nollywood film, but worse because it affects your future in a significant way.
“Admission is not on seat this year”
One of the most controversial issues surrounding the UTME is its validity period which is only one year. This means even if a student scores well above the cut-off mark, they have to resit the examination if they don’t gain admission the year of that exam.
That’s why the House of Representatives is now considering a bill to extend the validity period of UTME results to two years. The bill was debated during a session on July 21st, 2022 before it was passed for a second reading
For The Motion, we compiled the best arguments lawmakers made in favour and in opposition to the bill to extend the validity period of UTME results to two years.
Tolu Akande-Sadipe — Oluyole federal constituency (Oyo State), APC
It’s totally unfair that when a child takes UTME and doesn’t get into the university despite fantastic grades, he has to repeat that exam the next year. We’re sacrificing the future of our children for financial justification. The justification that JAMB comes up with is that UTME is a revenue-generation stream for them.
When you look at the number of students that apply to universities every year and the number that get in, it’s definitely not their fault. So, why should they be penalised? Everywhere in the world, there’s no such exam that’s valid for only one year. Why should our children be sacrificed on the altar of revenue generation by JAMB?
Uzoma Abonta — Ukwa federal constituency (Abia State), PDP
If what the bill intends to amend is that once you write JAMB you can use it for more than one year, we’ll create other problems we can’t solve. It’ll not help us.
JAMB law doesn’t require amendment for now. The only amendment we can make is to take away the post-UTME exam but I think that exam is also necessary for the institutions to screen candidates.
Ahmed Idris Wase — Wase federal constituency (Plateau State), APC
The poor parents that suffer to pay for these children should be taken into consideration. Not all have the opportunity. Some suffer before they can pay for one exam. Even some of our colleagues here have to intervene to pay for these students just to get the opportunity to write the exam once. I don’t think there’s any harm in passing this bill.
Chinyere Igwe — Port Harcourt II federal constituency (Rivers State), PDP
We must know the difference between entrance examination and terminal examination. JAMB is an entrance examination — you sit, if you pass and don’t meet the cut-off mark, you sit again next year.
If we change this system, we’ll only end up bringing down the level of educational standards in Nigeria.
Toby Okechukwu — Aninri/Awgu/Oji River federal constituency (Enugu State), PDP
What’s clear is that our children and their parents/guardians who fund their education have been suffering more than double jeopardy. In some instances, you have a child who keeps passing the UTME but has continued to pay for five years.
Should our children be victims of the fact that we’ve not provided enough universities to take in every child that has passed? It’s not a failure on the part of the students that you can’t take them when they pass. It’s your responsibility to take them and you can’t be asking them to be paying every year. When we hear JAMB returning ₦10 billion to the treasury, it’s young people and their guardians that are suffering.