Ekene Franklin, the 15-year-old Imo State native who emerged as the best candidate in the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), released on Saturday cannot gain admission into any Nigerian University in spite of his outstanding score of 347 marks.
Registrar of JAMB, Professor Ishaq Oloyode, while speaking on the results released said that the best candidate may not be admitted to the University of Lagos, which he chose as his first choice because of age, a development that now strengthens the calls for the JAMB Registrar to be made Minister of Education to enable him bring holistic change to the education sector in the country.
Franklin emerged as the best in the list of over 1.8m candidates but following the National Universities Commission (NUC) minimum age rule for admission into the university which public universities don’t compromise, he stands disqualified to register as a student of the University of Lagos, his first choice school.
The second best candidate with 346 marks – 16-year-old Emmanuel Chidiebube is from Abia State with just one point less than Franklin, while 17-year-old Oluwo Isaac Olamilekan Oloyode from Osun State came third with 345 marks.
Oloyede lamented that the examination was fraught with serious irregularities and manipulation from especially the CBT exam centres and owners.
He said: “In Nigeria too, examination malpractice is exacerbated by the insatiable greed and desperate antics of parents who are hell-bent on inducting their innocent and not-so-innocent children into the world of sharp practices and corruption.
“Yet, the given circumstances made it difficult for us in 2017 to adopt the international best practice of pre-release clinical scrutiny of the results of the examination of this nature especially when one is aware of how endemic the rot had been since the period of the Paper and Pencil Test till the recently introduced CBT.”
“The foundation of examination malpractice is laid at the point of registration with the active connivance of some CBT centre owners who allowed themselves to be infiltrated by those who parade themselves as owners of tutorial classes. “Unfortunately, some elite institutions that charge exorbitant fees, which they had made the parents part within the name of secondary education, became active in the procurement of ‘best results’ for their students at all costs.
“These characters have permeated the system such that it is herculean to confront and dislodge them.
“The extent of this infraction is appreciated through the huge amount of money JAMB makes from the correction of names, dates of birth by the perpetrators.”
He added that JAMB had delisted about 116 CBT centres nationwide from conducting the UTME tests in future.