The Senate has commenced process of amending the establishment Act of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), with particular interest on age of candidates participating in Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
The lawmakers suggested in the new amendment that 18 years should be set as age for any candidate that will like to participate in UTME henceforth, as against the practice of candidates participating in the exercise as early as 14 years.
Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Basic Education, Senator Akon Eyakenyi, disclosed the information on Monday when she led other Committee members on oversight visit to JAMB headquarters in Abuja.
She explained that the Committee had identified two major areas to be addressed in the proposed amendment for the examination body to function better.
Senator Eyakenyi said: “We have the responsibilities of making laws and legislate. We have identified two major areas that we need to go into the process of amending the act establishing JAMB. That’s the area of support we will give.”
The Committee insisted that candidates should neither sit nor be admitted into the university below the age of 18, as age has a lot to do with learning ability.
The Senator stressed the importance of education to the development and future of Nigeria, and added that the sector deserves maximum attention as good quality education can only be achieved through funding and commitment of teachers and students.
While describing JAMB as a bridge between the secondary and the university, she said the agency is a necessary vehicle for the delivery of quality and standard education in Nigeria.
Senator Eyakenyi commended the board for the smooth conduct of the 2021 UTME, stating that the exercise was free from malpractice as each candidate had different questions to answer, while describing JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, as a round peg in a round hole, who knows his job.
Responding, JAMB Registrar, Prof. Oloyede, told the Committee that the Board does not have powers to disqualify any candidate on the basis of age shifting the responsibility to individual institutions.
“Individual institutions can decide on who to admit or not based on age or any other criteria. It is the case with University of Ibadan which does not admit candidates below 16 years,” he said.
On the general performance for UTME in 2021, Prof. Oloyede, said the Board has been able to use the profile code and National Identification Number (NIN) to arrest the issue of multiple registration, adding that in 2021, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) supplied pictures of candidates in addition to the one captured by JAMB at the point of registration.
He disclosed that some security agents were caught in the act of aiding examination malpractices by swapping candidates after they have been cleared through the biometrics process.
He threatened that some candidates results may be withdrawn if after reviewing the exercise on CCTV they are found to be culpable of malpractice.