Not many parents were amused with the decision of the Joint Admission And Matriculation Board (JAMB) to link its examination with the National Identification Number (NIN).
It is instructive to note that JAMB has made possession of NIN a precondition for candidates who wish to register for its examination in 2021.
Registrar of JAMB, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, had said that the board introduced the use of National Identity Number (NIN) for the registration of the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) to check examination malpractices.
While we support any possible measure put in place by JAMB to check examination malpractice, in the considered opinion of this Newspaper, such move is premature at this time when put side by side with challenges associated with NIN registration.
Added to this is the fact that not much activities were carried out last year due to the COVID-19 lockdown. And with the wide reports of hardship Nigerians are facing to obtain NIN on daily basis, it is rather uncalled for to make it mandatory for candidates, even though it is important for Nigerians to have it.
Unfortunately, the tortuous task of obtaining the NIN number may force JAMB to postpone the exams. According to JAMB, there are more than 600,000 candidates who have indicated interest in the examination but are yet to receive their details.
In the midst of these challenges confronting JAMB candidates, there are allegations that officials NIMC have been extorting money from students desperate to get the NIN so as to beat JAMB deadline. The speculation is rife that NIMC and NIN have become a money making scheme for some unscrupulous government officials.
Citing issues with network, unavailability of enrolment forms, agents not made available at rural or urban parts of the country as well as the non-challant attitude of agents one will begin to wonder if the board still wants to stick to assisting graduates for higher learning for the fact that no educational activity took place in 2020 neithern did JAMB conduct any exercise in 2020.
The number of candidates seeking admission into higher institutions will double due to the gap 2020 left, which the logical thing the board should have done was to make the NIN requirement optional, make enrolment available to candidates a priority or set couple of months for registrations. So that whatever the challenge is with ample time it will be sorted.
At this stage, the society does not need young people seeking opportunities for further studies idle. We have enough in the labour market already. So depriving young men and women seeking chances for higher learning is considered unacceptable. And there is certainly no light at the end of this tunnel for guardians and parents, their wards deserve to enrol with no hitches.
We therefore call on JAMB to shelve the conditions this year and allow every student to write the examination irrespective of whether or not they have NIN.
Again, unscrupulous government officials fleecing students should be arrested to serve as a deterrent to others.