Towards Deconstructing The Prof .Ayo Banjo’s “Wholesome Wind Of Change ”Blowing Across JAMB

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In his 2019 autobiography “Morning by
Professor Ayo Banjo a Professor of English Language and an experienced educational administrator,stated: “It is encouraging, however, that as I write this, wholesome fresh air is being let into JAMB operations by a new leadership which, if sustained, is bound to sanitise the whole admissions procedure.”

Professor Ayo Banjo’s position, which he gave while sharing his thoughts on what seems to be a decline of secondary and tertiary education in Nigeria, affirmed what has been the position of most critics, observers and stakeholders alike on the breath of fresh air blowing across the Board in recent times.

However, what is quite striking in Professor Banjo’s observation on JAMB is its corroborative value as such complementary remark is not entirely strange to critical observers of developmentsinJAMB.
The statement, when viewed against the backdrop of the standing of the Professor Emeritus in the country’s educational sector, and his well-documented comments on the administration of education in Nigeria, is bound to lead observers to the inevitable conclusion that the Don’s statement was neither forced nor made aimlessly to adulate …TowardsDeconstructingtheProf.AyoBanjo’s“WholesomeWindofChange”BlowingAcrossJAMB
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Today’s JAMB, evidenced by the “wholesome fresh air” noted by Professor Banjo can only be truly comprehended through a full understanding of the mindset of the Professor Ishaq Oloyede-led management team, which had fused a visionary administrative style, in line with 21st century demands, with practical awareness of the need for infrastructural development and capacity building.

It is, therefore, not out of place, for the Board to restrategise, yet again, on ways and means of improving its service delivery by instituting new guidelines and improving upon existing ones under the aegis of the just-concluded 2022 Management Retreat. This move, which was instructive and timely, is indicative of the Board’s prioritisation of feedback and subsequent evaluation of its processes with a view to remaining competitive and engendering national progress.

Beyond the inputs of critical stakeholders and commitment to attaining yet more progress, the Board expressed a willingness to adapt to a dynamic global culture while thwarting the efforts and moves of detractors, who are out to frustrate its leadership. It is, therefore, encouraging to note the various laudable steps of repositioning by the Board, which led to the abolition of UTME/DE Scratch Cards, the institution of a more credible testing process, the implementation of an electronic Integrated Brochure and Syllabus System (IBASS) as well as the landmark introduction of the Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS) to make for a fair and transparent admission process devoid of human interference, among others.
Furthermore, eloquent testimonies
abound as to the effects of all these innovative strategies aimed at repositioning the Board for greater glory.

Chief among these is the nod of satisfaction given to JAMB by secondary school principals at the 2022 South-West Bloc Meeting of the All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) held in Ibadan recently, which demonstrated that the Board’s robust attempts at repositioning itself have been warmly received. Similarly, from all indications, the renewed drive to project the image of an integrity-driven Board, especially in the conduct of the UTME and entrenching equity in the admission process, has complemented a financial transparency and accountability through sound management of human and material resources. It is, therefore, not surprising that a combination of these and many more had birthed the vital foundation for infrastructural development, which is central to Professor Oloyede’s leadership.

In this wise, it is pertinent to note that it is the huge investment in ICT infrastructure that had played a key role in boosting and projecting the reliability of its computer- based test as public and private agencies rush to partner with JAMB to conduct theirthird-party examinations.

No highlights of the wind of change blowing in JAMB would be complete without a mention of the important facelift that the Board’s offices across all geopolitical zones now enjoy. Apart from the renovation of existing structures, new Professional Test Centres and office complexes are being built across the country to improve the UTME process and provide a conducive work environmentfor staff.

It is also noteworthy to examine capacity
building within the context of constant evaluation. It is, therefore, not surprising to note that Professor Oloyede has placed a premium on improving the quality of the Board’s workforce through competitive assessment, virtual workshops and trainings. Through competitive assessment, members of staff have attained enhanced intellectualism which has not only bettered the system but also served to underscore the Registrar’s position that only knowledgeable assesors (staff of the Board in this case) should be deployed to serve as credible and efficient assessors of the testees

(primarily UTME candidates).

This view is also reflected in the Board’s compendium, “Manual of Critical Assessment Competences for Tertiary Education Lecturers in Nigeria” where it was opined that to demystify examination and reduce the incidence of examination malpractice, assessment as learning, assessment for learning and assessment of learning should be given priority in that order.

Another novel strategy of fostering capacity building is the recently- approved policy of deployment of some exceptional academics to JAMB for their sabbatical year. This collaborative effort which ensures knowledge-sharing is to enhance the capacity of staff of the Board in the areas of research, test development and new trends in teaching and learning.

Indeed, it is perhaps not out place to say that the foundation of a greater JAMB is being laid towards ensuring a Nigeria of our dreams. Thus, Professor Banjo’s “wholesome fresh air” is not a simplistic overview but a concise assessment of a remarkableand wonderful movement.

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